Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Once in a Lifetime Experience

Since high school I have loved singing composer John Rutter's music. I love his simple choral songs ("For the Beauty of the Earth" is still a favorite), and his larger works are sublime. When I heard that he would be conducting at the American Choral Director's Convention I was impressed. However, when I found out that I could audition for the choir and was ecstatic! What a thrill to sing under the man whose music I have loved for longer than I care to admit!

Auditions were blind--as in send a digital recording with no identification except voice part and hope for the best. Georgia Symphony Choir conductor Bryan Black was not only a tremendous encourager, but he also helped me with the recording. And then the wait.

A few weeks after the recording was sent, I got a Facebook message from Bryan telling me to check my e-mail. Of course, I was away from a computer, but I suspected he would only contact me with good news. And it was. I made the choir.

Fast forward three months to the ACDA convention in Dallas. I had learned the music and fallen absolutely in love with Rutter's Mass of the Children before the first rehearsal. (Once we began work on Rutter's arrangement of the Faure Requiem I was equally smitten, but I needed to be educated by the master first.)

Rutter is serious about his music, but delightful as conductor.  His illustrations to explain what he wanted from us were often funny (lots of emphatic gesturing and even some running around), but so effective that we rarely had to be told more than once. We got it. We loved it. I loved it. And, according to the note he sent to the Festival Choir organizer, he enjoyed himself as well.

There we gathered: 116 voices from 22 states, all musicians who had auditioned as I had, learned the music, and who were committed to making MUSIC. Accompanied by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the MASSIVE organ in the Meyersen Symphony Hall, we who were once strangers came together in a tightly woven tapestry of singers making magic under Rutter's direction.

Once in a lifetime--and magical.

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