Picture it: the alarm goes off at 530am and my husband pops out of bed. I, on the other hand, groan and bemoan my fate. I hate mornings. I really, really, really hate mornings. However, on this morning, after groaning and moaning, I slowly wake up and tune into NPR on my clock radio while slowly becoming conscious; at the same time, I remember why I am waking up so damned early. Oh, yeah! The Concert Choir is singing at the AL-ACDA Collegiate Choral Festival in Birmingham today. And suddenly, I am full of energy. I am very excited about this young group of students this year. They work really hard, and they sound really good.
Bill and I manage to make it out of the door at a reasonable time (which is good for me). I got a call from LeAnna Whitaker, our wonderful assistant conductor, telling me that one of our tenors was MIA. I sighed a sigh, and asked her to send me his number. I called him, but no answer. It's moments like these that I resent my job because I hate being the "bad guy". But it's important of course that these young people learn about responsibility and all that good stuff that comes with being an adult. Anyway, LeAnna had accounted for all others and we were on our way.
We got there really fast...I even passed sweet alto Mary Jane on the freeway. (I have a bit of a lead foot.) The festival started RIGHT at 900am, and my singers were no where to be found. I frantically texted LeAnna and she said most were still 5 minutes away. I was anxious, understandably. The organizers were looking at me annoyed, like, "Hello? Where are your singers?" Not fun. At that moment, I realized that we just need to find some money and hire a bus to take us down ALL TOGETHER. No more of this carpooling B.S.
I finally found my choir sitting at the back of the church. God knows how long they were sitting there while I was in the front row having a panic attack trying to look pleasant while the other choirs were singing. Sigh. After I found them, Kirstin, our sweet Alto section leader tells me that one of the altos has a flat and probably won't make it in time. Double sigh. The good news is that they all were wearing the right things and dresses looked unwrinkled -- for the most part.
Anyway, we went down to warm-up and we had a little talk about being on time, among other things. Ahem. I was disappointed that two people left before the morning session was over, but you can't win them all.
I know for a fact that this is the best they've ever sung at this particular festival, which is especially gratifying for my ego, considering this is one of the few times my colleagues get to hear my work; but more important was what it did for the singers.
There is something so special about performing. There are moments when things just "click". You don't know why or how, but it just does, and by some miracle, everyone is on the same page ...communicating through the ether and connected together through the mind and the music. We had one of the moments today. I'm not sure anyone but a performer -- especially an ensemble performer -- knows of what I speak, but it's truly remarkable. It's moments like these that we in this business strive for. It's moments like these that we hope for our students to have so that they get "hooked" like we got hooked way back when we decided to make this our life's work. I don't make much money; I don't live extravagantly, but I have music, and music is my life. I wouldn't change it for the world, and if I can give a piece of that to my students, then that's all I really need.
I hope they know that. I certainly gave them a piece of myself today (in more than one way!) And I hope they know that when I perform, it's with all my heart, and it belongs to them.
Don't miss out, Huntsville.
UAHuntsville Concert Choir in Concert with Grissom High
730pm, Roberts Recital Hall
$10 general admission/$5 for students with I.D.