Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Being the Choir Wyf, Part 1

Singing in choirs conducted by my husband is a wonderful gift, one for which I am thankful everyday. I would not trade sharing these unique musical experiences with him for ANYTHING.

At the same time, there are challenges. Note that these are not challenges in my relationship with him, but rather, challenges that... um... how shall I put this? Well, let's just say that I am sometimes challenged not to get up and smack other people in the choir in the mouth when they act like dingbats. That is my challenge.

This is a particularly great challenge because I know, and fully appreciate, that my chief contribution to our choral communities is to smile, and participate in a positive manner, and be a totally cheerful soul. To be anything else in these circumstances is unforgivable, chiefly because it would make WH's job so much harder. And really, being that positive influence is pretty easy 95% of the time. I'm a naturally positive person, I LOVE singing, and there are some terrific people with whom I am blessed to sing.

So I am working hard this Lent to acknowledge the behaviour that gets under my skin and to find a more positive way to deal with it. So, to the woman who interrupted WH's rehearsal last night to say something like, "I have absolutely no business saying this, but [insert patronizing and stupid criticism of WH's rehearsal style here]," I would like to say that I am impressed by your dedication to this choir and your clear passion for the quality of our work. Thank you so much for your comment. I am amazed at how much confidence it must have taken to speak out in that blatantly condescending and insulting tone of voice, to make a comment that was both rude and incorrect. You are a dingbat. [smack]

Oh. I seem to have gotten derailed there. Good thing there are 40 days in Lent.


I'm Still Me said...

I am piecing together a picture in my head which is helping me imagine what kind of control you had to exhibit!

Crimson Rambler said...


Towanda said...

heh heh heh...I know that challenge...

more cows than people said...

wow. this makes me glad i only occasionally sing in the choir my husband conducts. i would have a very hard time being the cheerful, peaceful presence.

Jim said...

Oooh, smack 'em, smack 'em!

I guarantee three quarters of the choir will try to buy you a drink after.

The wierdest complaint I ever heard of a conductor was during the taping of Murray F. Schaefer's Apocalypsis. (I know the encyclopaedia calls him R. Murray Shaefer. I've worked with him. It's Murray F. Schaefer to those who have worked with him.)

The piece is a thoroughly wierd, "modern," "dramatic" . . . thing. The first half required seven (7) conductors. The second half was twelve (12) four part choirs in a circle around the outside of the room, conducted by the Excellent Conductor. (The EC was, after the first half, the only conductor left in town who could physically handle the second half. He had to beat 60/min, in ten beat bars for forty-five (45) minutes. And be seen by people in all directions, including directly behind him.

The crisis came during the last day of the job, when we were taping for The People's Broadcaster (which in those days was on hand to tape anything MFS did). For this we were all arranged on the stage.

The first take fell to bits in about a minute and a half. The EC asked what the problem was. A plaintive voice responded, "We can't follow your beat from in front."

After a long pause, the EC said, "I've never had that problem before."

The place dissolved in laughter. The second take was a keeper.

Identity Mixed said...

Some people just really want to hear themselves talk. Seriously.

What I used to do in meetings when someone was driving me nuts was draw a circle, write their name in the middle and tap it with my pen. In my imagination, I was ejecting them and they would launch through the roof never to be seen again. It brought me joy and got me through many a meeting!