Monday, June 8, 2009


So ends another choir season. It has had its brilliant moments - lots more than I as the conductor can take responsibility for. I suppose it has been disappointing for some: not enough new music this year, no big event (no oratorio or evensong or festival), same old aging under-prepared guy waving his arms and trotting out tired jokes. You know, another season.

The season ended not with a bang but a ... well, no that isn't fair, not with a whimper either. I envy the music programs that manage a big to-do at the end of the school year. We do what we can, and music is deeply and widely appreciated here. In a sense, we don't need to make a big deal out of it, because it is so integral and integrated into our church life. (Though, rightly so, my current music committee would dispute that - and are appropriately pushing to see that we don't lose that integral integration.)

But, without a big event to close the season - and without an oratorio confirmed on next year's books - our final rehearsals have been laid back. To the point where our penulitmate practice ended a tad early so we could celebrate birthdays. And our final rehearsal was a dessert party at the director's house. We were, frankly, "ready" for Sunday anyway, so why not party? And what a party it was - 75 people in a standard suburban two-story with sunroom, deck and lawn. We were blessed with a beautiful evening and a room full of home-made desserts (compliments my generous wife). It was great fun, and ended after those who shoe-horned into the vaulted sunroom spent nearly a half-hour singing hymn after hymn, from memory, in parts. Nothing was "called out" ... it just flowed from one to the next, first this one leading out, then another. Most of the songs were old-time gospel songs and choruses - of the type that we don't actually sing in services here. So it was (a) surprising how many people knew the words to so many of these songs, and (b) how long this went on! It was sweetly glorious.

Sunday morning came round, and we sang in College Church's lovely understated communion service. Bruce Greer's "Delight in the Lord" (with piano, but the orchestral setting is also very nice) and Rene Clausen's "Softly and Tenderly" - the latter was, to die for. I told the choir as far as I'm concerned they could sing that every week. (I have stopped saying they could sing it at my funeral ... they sometimes seem all too eager for that.)

And then, it was over. 3 final services on our last Sunday, and "see you next season." So, no, it wasn't the choir who was flat ... it's how I feel at the end of each season.

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