Yesterday was a tiring day; nonetheless, I owed it to my choir to be fresh, energetic, and non-cranky at the evening’s rehearsal. Rehearsal went very well.
1. We read through to the end of The Snow Lay on the Ground (with a good deal of spot-practicing). All went well.
2. With only a few missteps in the initial read-through which we needed to correct with consequent rehearsal, the choir did just fine with I Want Jesus to Walk With Me (the “Ur-text version”). This was really the crucial success of the rehearsal – since the choir never read these pages (as these pages) before last night, and I was proposing that we sing the number this Sunday coming. We sang the spiritual in just this manner (though simply reading from the hymnal) last year. So the whole endeavor was, arguably, low-risk; but I am grateful that everything went as smoothly as it did.
3. The other piece which we had never read before was the John Ferguson arrangement of Lord of the Dance, which was the next-highest priority, since I was proposing that we perform this the following Sunday (26 October) with the handbells. This went even smoother than I had hoped (and I had indeed hoped that it would go without any hitch). Near the end of the arrangement there is a high A-flat whole-note for the sopranos which simply does not suit my singers, so we re-voiced that choral chord a bit – no need for any discomfort among my choristers! Another signal success of the evening.
4. Those confidence-builders set the stage, as it were, for further work on (review of the first great chunk of the Vom Himmel hoch section of) Sweetest Ancient Cradle Song, in the sanctuary and with the organ. Very good work done, just have to keep building on it.
Now that the matter of the Cradle Song has been settled, I have had exchange with the brass chappie to confirm. I think there is nothing for it, but that I shall be a little out of pocket on that, but I feel confident that the entire experience will be a good musical experience for the choir and the church.