Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Choir ordeal: Part Two

After my last choir rehearsal, in which a cold protected me from having to stand up in front of a mass of people and sing the Polish national anthem by heart, I frantically tried to learn the three pieces that form our repertoire so far. That went ok. Or so I thought.

As the next rehearsal approached I convinced myself it was ridiculous to get so worked up about singing in front of other singers. Anyway, I told myself, they are all younger than me and probably less experienced with choirs (when feeling threatened I find it very effective to belittle those around me).

The evening arrived, the rehearsal started and I felt like I was back at a bad day at primary school. Why's nobody sitting next to me? Why does everyone know someone except me? Why is that girl turning around and smiling at me? I must have something on my face. I wonder what I have on my face. Maybe it was a friendly smile. It kind of looked like a friendly smile. Maybe I should smile back. No, it's too late now. She'll think I'm a weird girl sitting by myself frantically smiling at anyone who's eyes wander my way. Why's that guy behind my left ear repeating everything in English? He's taking the piss! Why would he take the piss? Why does he know I'm English? Do I look English? Whooo, breathe.

Yes, I was totally paranoid and panicky. Still, most of the rehearsal passed, only a few people had to stand and sing in front of the others and I was starting to think I was going to make it, when, inexplicably, I found myself in a room full of only sopranos. With the help of the girl sitting next to me I discovered that the soprano section was oversubscribed and they were going to have to weed out the weaklings. We couldn't all stay.

Well, this settled my nerves nicely. I wanted to be an alto again.

I was in the first chair of the second row. The choir leader asked the first row to stand. They stood. One by one the girls sang. There was some wobbling, there was some running out of breath before the end of the phrase and there was some going off key, but CAN YOU BLAME THEM?

Then came the worst bit. A random girl was picked, told to sing a second piece, and then told she could go home. 'So, am I in or out?' she asked tremulously. 'Oh in, you can stay' said the choir leader breezily 'see you on Monday'. The same thing happened for a few more girls, and then the choir leader consulted with her co-leader and turned to the three girls who were left. 'Um, sorry but you're a bit weak. Stay sitting and we'll see at the end if we have room.' They bit their lips and tried to look like they were fine about it. Harsh.

I was next. My row stood, I took a deep breath and started singing. Of course although I had spent the past week memorising words and tunes for this very moment, my head went blank just when it was needed so I had to look at the paper. At least it meant not looking at the choir leader.

I finished, she nodded and passed to the next. Phew, for now.

Eventually everyone on my row had had their go. Everyone sat. She pointed at me, a girl in the middle of the row and a girl at the far end. Stand. Next piece. I started singing. The co-leader was making goldfish faces at me, eyes wide and mouth even wider, opening and closing. This was rather offputting but I think she was trying to indicate I should open my mouth more. I tried to open my mouth more. I tried to remember to breathe, and sing, and count, and not to tremble.

I finished.

The choir leader looked at me. 'You shouldn't be scared, sing out!'

For one awful moment I thought she was going to ask me to sing it again. Instead she looked briefly at her co-leader: 'She's in right?' and turned to me: 'See you on Monday.'

Everyone clapped, I grabbed my things as fast as I could and left on top of the world. One of the front-row girls on hold even swivelled round in her seat and whispered 'congratulations'. I hope she makes it.

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Blogger Gustav said...


When's the first recital?

9:00 pm  
Anonymous Keji said...

well done, especially because that process sounded awful, but you prevailed in i guess you must be brushing your hair...sorry, i mean happy! hehehe

9:53 pm  
Blogger Becca said...

Thanks :)

First recital no idea (dzięki Bogu). I need time to figure this lot out and learn some music!

8:02 am  

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