Friday, October 17, 2014

Magnificent Magnificat

Story time:  Once when I was a senior in high school, our first-year choir teacher introduced us to a requiem by one John Rutter, a then fairly unknown-to-me English composer.  Singing Rutter's Requiem was a marvelous experience that has stayed with me, lo, these 15 years.  I still listen to the CD I bought at the time on a semi-regular basis.  After high school I was in Men's Chorus all through college, and ever since then (almost ten years!!! OoO ) I haven't really sung in a great choir.  I've conducted a few ward choirs that are actually quite good, but it had been almost a decade since I actually had the chance to sing in one, and even longer than that since I was in a mixed one.

SO, when some friends (that I made in my Men's Chorus days and have stayed in touch with over the years) announced that a great local choir they're in was looking for a few new singers to boost their numbers for an upcoming performance with a local orchestra, my interest was piqued.  When they mentioned this orchestra was the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra, which group I have heard perform many a time over the last few years, as my sister is one of their regular violists, I was further intrigued.  When I noticed the program was Beethoven, along with a certain masterwork by the aforementioned John Rutter, it clinched it.  (Though I should say that The Wife's support and especially encouragement is what really clinched it.)  I emailed to set up an audition, I was invited to participate, and for a couple of months I went to weekly rehearsals with the Deseret Chamber Singers to learn Rutter's glorious Magnificat.
Seriously, who can write harmonies like this man?
It's always so great to sing with a really good choir, and it was so much fun to get together every week and do just that.  (And not to be in charge of it, ha.)  I looked forward to every rehearsal and it was good to reconnect with old friends, make some new ones, and better get to know people I'd only heard of or met in passing.  And then, just last weekend, after a few joint rehearsals with the orchestra and/or soloist (and some scavenging of all the parts to make a concert-worthy tuxedo), we were all ready to go in our fancy concert black and we sang/played that Magnificat like no tomorrow.
Opening night!  It only took a few tries before I was satisfied that I didn't look too much like a goober in this picture.  Many thanks to all who contributed to my piecemeal tuxedo. (Or, to be more seasonal, Frankenstein tuxedo.)  It was the first time I've worn one since our wedding day.
I wondered a little if learning this piece would lead to loving it as much as I have his Requiem for all these years, or even usurping its place at the top, but I think the pieces and the experiences are both so different that both can reside in my heart and soul (though I do think that Requiem will always be number one).  I think Magnificat is a little more musically challenging, which was fun, and inspiring in a different way, but Requiem is really moving and moody, which I love, and of course both choirs were at different points in my musical performing maturity, and anyway, the point is I love them both.
A fun reunion with sister Cami from the old BYU Philharmonic/Men's Chorus days of yore when we used to play/sing together in concerts.  It was fun to accompany each other again.  (Except they didn't let me have a beard them.  Note also the various methods of the taming of the beast uponst my head, what I like to call the Leopold.  One mustn't look shaggy when wearing a tux.)
So there we go, just a little report/documentation of this experience, because I think it deserves it, and I really don't want to forget it.  I probably never will, since I've listened to the recording I bought before practices started every day since the concert.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I know I certainly did.  I said I would be sad when it's over, and now it's over so I'm sad, but only in the way that someone is sad when something wonderful ends.  Also, apparently I'm part of the alumni now (yessssssss [Napoleon Dynamite voice]), so hopefully I can get back into the semi-frequently-gathering choir the next time they get together, and I look forward to it.
Oh, and then there's the thing where I joined another multi-stake choir just because, and there was this other stake-ish one that someone told me about for Christmas, and also the choir in our new ward...  It's a good time to sing, apparently.

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