My big (secret) project this summer was preparing to audition for one of the better amateur choirs in the city. I made myself perform vocal exercises when I got home from work to extend my range and warm up my tone. I brushed up on my Latin and German pronunciation because most choirs test you on those. (I can fake my way through Italian using my high school Spanish, but French, the last of the four big languages for vocalists, is a lost cause for me.) I even attended several Summer Sings to revive my old sight-reading skills. (Summer Sings, for the uninitiated, are dorky choral gatherings in which attendees read through a major work together. They’re actually a lot of fun if you enjoy sight-reading, which I do.)
And today, at long last, I learned that I’ve been accepted into the choir I most wanted to join! (I promptly cancelled my other two auditions, pathetically grateful that I was able to audition for my favorite first. Auditions terrify me.) The choir will be something of a time commitment, with a nearly three-hour rehearsal each week, but I’m looking forward to that more than I can express. I haven’t wanted to go back to working as an organist for a variety of reasons (not least of which is my reluctance to work on holidays), but I still miss making music as part of a group. In the eight years since I’ve sung in a choir, five since I’ve retired from church music, I’ve felt the absence of that acutely. Collaborative music-making can be a genuinely transcendent experience, and I’m thrilled to make it part of my life again.