November 27, 2012

The Cantique de Yeeep


It was . . . not too bad.  The Cantique.  Considering.  Oh, and Gordon had found two more sopranos, but I’m not sure what flavour:  there were enough standard second sopranos that us front row didn’t look too appal—I mean, few, and I was standing between two known second sopranos, so while I could hear the sound thinning out at the top that could be merely be that I was hearing the harmony.  Let’s say that a clear and soulful first-soprano sound was wafting sweetly out over the assembled.  Let’s just say.

Various things went wrong, of course.*  I went to the evening service at St Radegund last night because I was worried about Pavlova keeping her legs crossed** for long enough to sprint several towns over to Aloysius’ church, and while I was there I had the fabulous idea to borrow a hymnal since I know NONE of the standard Anglican hymns and oh-by-the-way we were also going to be singing four of them for the funeral.  In four (or five) part harmony.  Oh.  So I borrowed a hymnal, promising on the earlobe of St Radegund herself*** to bring it back today, got it home and . . . one of the hymns wasn’t in it.  ARRRRGH.  Now even I can usually pick up a straightforward hymn tune in a verse or two but I am singing in the choir, and poor benighted congregation members have been known to listen to the choir for guidance.†  One of hymns has an old traditional folk tune so that’s all right, and the other two aren’t unbearably taxing, although one has a jolly little soprano descant that ascends into the aether and I, acutely conscious of a soprano shortage, gave it a cursory glance, discarded it instantly, and went back to Monsieur Racine.

Of course I had a pillow over my head against the mad gravel-churning of over the road and didn’t hear my alarm.  YAAAAAAAH.  So I had two relays of hellcritters to get out and a sufficiency of caffeine to take on so that my eyes would not merely focus on the music but would have a clue what it was telling me, as well as getting into presentable girl clothes, in rather less time than planned.  The family had specifically requested we not wear black so I was wearing (surprise!) hot pink . . . and the nice little cardi chosen for the occasion turned out to have a moth hole†† AAAAAAAAAUGH, I must have another pink cardi . . . I do, actually, several.  I went screaming††† down the road to St Radegund with at least thirty seconds to spare.

We had a forty-five minute rehearsal before we went on and this was very good for the nerves.  Even if there weren’t enough (first) sopranos there were enough bodies.  We would fill the choir stalls like we meant business.  And the new musical director, who did not make a entirely wonderful first impression on me,‡ was totally a trooper, pulling us together and being caaaaaaaalm, which counts a lot with me.  In my youth I sang once or twice for nervy, high-strung conductors and it was not a joyful experience.  There were two nasty shocks to the system however:  one of the hymns had different lyrics in the order of service than in our hymnals‡‡ . . . and they were expecting us to sing that frelling descant.  I want a lot of friends around me if I’m going to hit an A in public.‡‡‡

But . . . it wasn’t too bad.§  It really wasn’t too bad. §§

The problem is I enjoyed it.§§§  I dropped out of the Muddles because I can’t stand the rehearsals, and the rehearsals haven’t changed.  Siiiiiiiigh.  So I emailed to Gordon tonight saying, I want shorter rehearsals and a loo, but meanwhile, can I come along for a bit till I decide that I can’t deal with it—again?  And he said yes, please do.

There goes Thursday evening (again).  But . . . singing.  I do want to sing in a choir.#

* * *

* Like that I was short of sleep, but then what else is new.  I hardly know what to do with myself on the days I’ve had enough sleep.^  But hellhounds ate supper last night.  Finally.  There was, even for them, an unusual amount of faffing around and further exacting refinement of already complex ritual and general whingeing but Darkness finally unbent sufficiently to essay the contents of his bowl.  I was about to give up on Chaos, who is the bigger drama queen but has the (slightly) less possessed by demons digestion, when he suddenly decided to eat after all.  YAAAAAAY.  Pavlova wanted it to be known that her final snack was inadequate, but she was at least not in the final throes of foodless despair as she had been the night before.

^ I’ve just been reading yet another article that says you should have on average 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Nice for those of you from that planet.

** Darling Pavlova went from fire-hose runs to . . . nothing.  It was forty two hours between the last blast and the re-establishment of intestinal . . . er . . . solidarity.  I texted Olivia last night:  If she craps in her crate overnight again I’m sending her back to Birmingham.  She didn’t.

And I am zero impressed with the effects of tinned pumpkin on canine digestion.  I am one hundred percent not impressed.  She was on pumpkin while she had the runs—she had been on pumpkin before she had the runs.  She was on pumpkin when she stopped producing anything of a craplike nature, and she is still on pumpkin now while she is clearly constipated.  I’ve bought the stuff, I might as well use it, but I’m not going to repeat the mistake.  Note that pumpkin does not work on all dogs.

*** No, wait, the C of E doesn’t do relics, does it?  From someone with a generic-Protestant background all of the C of E is high church, and if you told me relics I’d believe you.  Although an earlobe isn’t really a good candidate.  It would be a tiny wizened little leathery thing after a few hundred years.  How about St Radegund’s earring?  She was a princess, there must have been earrings.  Of course after she ran away from her fratricidal husband to found a convent she lived, according to Catholic Online, in great austerity.  Well, let’s postulate a Belinda^ who carefully kept the earrings.  I fancy a nice garnet pair.  We have only one however.  The other one is in a closed convent in Yugoslavia, possibly with her hairpins.

^ ‘Thy hand, Belinda;  darkness shades me, on thy bosom let me rest.’  I’m singing Dido, although I imagine poor Belinda tearing her hair and shouting, He’s only a bloke!  He’s NOT WORTH IT!  Pull yourself together!

† I tell myself I can’t be unprofessional when I’m a volunteer amateur.

†† Moths have been a NIGHTMARE this year.  Where are my bug-eating bats when I need them?

††† No, no, not screaming, just doing a few gentle little vocal warm-ups.

‡ Too young and too frelling brash.  I said this to Nadia and she said, oh, the poor little blighter, you come out of uni having learnt your choir-director skills directing other students who have young forgiving voices and probably a fairly open and flexible attitude . . . and suddenly you’re trying to make something of a small amateur choir full of middle-aged characters and you have to figure it out before they fire you.

‡‡  I was thinking, and it seemed like such a good idea to borrow a hymnal.

‡‡‡ And the Gs in Monsieur Racine are G flat.  Piffle.

§ The blokes bungled one of their entries BUT IT WASN’T US SOPRANOS.

§§ And I hit those G flats like a hucklebutting hellterror.  WHAM.  I even managed the descant A, although I doubt it was a beautiful noise.

§§§ It was also a loving and lovely service.  I didn’t know her, but it still made me cry.

# Today to my amazement I still had some voice left to sing for Nadia.  Yes, you’re well sung in today, she said, after the first warm-ups.  It is, of course, her doing that I didn’t strain myself attempting to uphold the honour of too few first sopranos in public.

I even went ringing at Glaciation tonight and lurched through a complete plain course of dradblatted Cambridge minor.  Singing in a choir in public is good for me.


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