By Andra M.
I had the pleasure of hosting a chorister-led rehearsal at my house recently. This meant spending my morning preparing snacks for us all—and dragging every chair in the house over to our piano, much to the confusion of my cat! With so many girls able to attend, it was sure to be a lovely experience, if somewhat cramped. As they started arriving, the first real snow of the season kicked in, and we all settled around in a big circle to sing.
It was very interesting to practice without a conductor or accompanist to guide us. Often we would all start talking over one another, ideas bubbling up as to what we should focus on or review next. A couple of girls would take initiative when necessary, but everyone’s voice was welcomed if they had something to say. The atmosphere was relaxed and informal, and in a big circle, we could all easily share ideas and talk to one another. That’s not to say, however, that we didn’t work hard!
I sat on the piano bench, playing along with our singing to help us out whenever I could. Many of the girls voiced their gratitude to be able to hear their own parts this way, as our regular rehearsals can go by so fast, and not all of us have a piano to help ourselves with at home. We worked to really clarify the harmony in our more difficult songs; some other pieces needed rhythm work, and we even made use of the metronome a couple of times to help ourselves.
In three hours, we sang our way through almost all of our Christmas concert pieces, including a wonderful longer cantata we would revisit between our work on other pieces. My three-legged cat would weave his way between the chairs, doing the important job of reminding the singers to smile as they sang. The snow visible through the big windows really brightened our moods and made me thankful I was inside, surrounded by some of my favourite people. Lots of the girls had brought snacks to share with everyone, and we had our dining table set up with an incredible feast for us all.
The evening was over almost as soon as it began. The girls left smiling, thanking me for hosting the event. I was much more grateful that they had taken time out of their busy lives to come to this extra practice, and they had all showed exceptional focus and artistry. We sounded much more confident at our next usual rehearsal, and I’m sure we felt closer to one another as well. After all, they still ask me how my cat is doing!