Saturday, September 6, 2008

Anticipation: The Coming Choral Season

They started arriving in June: the rehearsal and performance schedules for the several choral ensembles in which I sing, along with the contracts and commitment letters that bind me (happily) to those schedules. Of course, I checked them all, one against the other, to be sure there were no date conflicts, before I collected them all in a folder marked SCHEDULES and set them aside for my “calendar marking session.”

This two-hour process takes place in early September, after I’ve purchased my date book for the following year (I prefer calendar-year date books rather than academic-type). With the two date books, the collected rehearsal and performance schedules, my favorite mechanical pencil, and a stimulating beverage at hand, I painstakingly transfer all the dates, times, and venues from the choral schedules to my own calendars. This sounds tedious, but I love it! It gives me a chance to anticipate and contemplate all the wonderful music I’ll sing in the coming season, including:

-- Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with The Hartford Chorale (October 24 and 25 with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and in May with the New Britain Symphony Orchestra)
-- The Hartford Chorale’s “Harvest Song” concert on November 22 at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford. This concert includes the debut of The Hartford Chorale Chamber Singers, of which I am a charter member.
-- "Christmas in New England” with the all-professional choral ensemble CONCORA (December 14, Center Church, Hartford)
-- "A Candlelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols," offered by The South Church Chancel Choir on December 21 at South Church, New Britain, CT. This remarkable and memorable service is presented as part of The Music Series at South Church.
-- An all-Mendelssohn concert with CONCORA on February 8, 2009. This concert will also take place at South Church in New Britain, where CONCORA was established 35 years ago by its Artistic Director, Richard Coffey.
-- Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem with The Hartford Chorale and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (April 3 and 4, 2009).

This list represents only the highlights of an exciting season. Of course, there are the weekly rehearsals and services of the remarkable, wonderfully musical and loving Chancel Choir at South Church, where I am engaged as section leader-soloist. Choirmaster Coffey chooses beautiful music, holds the choir to the highest musical and vocal standards, and leads us with grace and charm.

I’ve been engaged to prepare program notes for several area ensembles this year, including CONCORA and The Hartford Chorale, and I’ll share some of my thoughts and findings here as the season moves along.

A busy summer kept this blog low on the priority list. In addition to managing several significant research projects for Peregrine Information Consultants, I was deeply engaged as research editor for a colleague’s book which was published in August. Now that I’m back on a regular schedule — as set down in my calendars! — I hope to create time for writing every day.

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