Tuesday, July 31, 2007

First Public Performance Tonight

Dateline: Seattle. Tallis Scholars Summer School
We're singing the Palestrina Mass tonight at St. James Cathedral, so that will be our focus in rehearsal today. We haven't even sung the Credo yet. I would guess that will be first up in rehearsal this morning.

It was interesting, yesterday, running through other segments (Kyrie, Gloria, etc) that we already "know." We've had so little rehearsal time and covered so much new music (at least compared to what I'm used to) that it almost felt as though we were doing new pieces rather than ones we have already worked on. This will be the biggest challenge for me, I think - singing out confidently in performance when I'm still very reliant on the score to simply find the notes and rhythm. Fortunately, there are many singers here who are much more experienced than me, and I know they will carry us through. Still, there are only six of us in the First Alto section, so you can't exactly disappear into the crowd!

David Woodcock is our rehearsal conductor, and Peter Phillips has been sitting quietly behind him during these rehearsals. You almost forget that he is there until he hears something that he is unhappy with. Then, Phillips stands very quietly and gradually makes his way to the podium, very slowly as we keep rehearsing. Though we do our best to keep singing away and fix whatever we're struggling with, once he's on his feet it won't be long until he takes over to work on a point that he finds particularly important.

It will certainly be interesting, tonight, to be singing in a totally different venue (cathedral acoustics, rather than the dead room we've been rehearsing in at the University), with a new conductor (Peter Phillips will conduct in concert). We have one hour of rehearsal in the Cathedral before the Mass, so I guess we'll figure out the transition then.

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