Monday, January 16, 2012

Choir Girl Debut with the Scona Singers

Greetings readers!

Alas, my lack of posting is due more to a lapse in initiative rather than a lack of choral activity. Today I had the pleasure of having my choral debut with the Scona Chamber Singers for their "Music of the Sistine Chapel" concert. It was a concert of Renaissance music by Gregorio Allegri, Palestrina, Anerio and Josquin des Prez. It was quite a treat actually since I usually only sing early music in choir when it's part of some kind of repertoire requirement at a music festival or concert, other than that, my experience with it is minimal. Which is unfortunate since I love the flowing lines, tensile dissonances, and clean end chords.

We started rehearsals last Friday and it was a bit challenging to jump back into an intensive choral schedule after the holidays. I found that my brain was mixing a lot of the pieces together because they were similar and it's hard to get context for a piece when you're just rehearsing individual lines. However, by Wednesday, as the music was becoming more solidified, I felt that it was beginning to feel more effortless. But as our conductor, John Brough, said to us, it's easy to just stop paying attention in early music and then you suddenly get caught off guard by an unexpected accidental. Other than the fact there were a few concert blips and some tuning issues, I felt like the concert was well-executed and, overall, just fun to sing. It had good flow and there were nice subsets of diversity in the individual musical movements even though it was all Renaissance music. I think my favorite pieces in the program were Allegri's "Gloria" & "Credo" movements and Allegri's "Miserere mei, Deus." Singing pieces like "Miserere mei, Deus" makes me wish I was born a monk so I could just sing awesome chant music all day in cathedrals. Plus, I would get to rock the strappy sandal look all-year-round. 

Mentioning the aspect of fashion, the Scona ladies all wear their own gowns for performances. Which introduced an interesting variable for me since I do not own any gowns. Vibrant cocktail dresses and an old prom gown? ---yes. Formal performance gowns? ---no. Since I don't perform solo voice recitals, I haven't had the opportunity to accumulate an array performance-wear. Thus, I checked the only place I could think of for uniform aid--- my mother's closet. I found an own navy gown my mother wore last year at a wedding reception. I tried it on. A bit roomy but in a comfortable way since I actually had room to breathe in the torso area. Excellent. It was one last thing I had to worry about for the concert. The Scona ladies seemed impressed that I was able to overlap closets with my mother. I was just glad I didn't have to invest in a gown which I would only wear once.

Overall, I had a fantastic debut experience with Scona Singers. As well, it was so much fun to sing with one of my choral soulmates, Dawn Bailey, again. She was back in town to sing with the Scona Singers and she also had her own recital the Friday before the concert. Dawn resides in Montreal now as a freelance singer and yoga teacher so it was great opportunity to catch up with her since she usually only visits Edmonton once or twice a year.

If you're interested in early music, I'd also recommend you visit the Early Music Alberta website, which is an organization which promotes early music performance and education by offering events such as concerts, masterclasses, and an early music festival.

Until next time readers, take care!

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