Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Truant Chorister

Welcome! and pull up a chair, for the first test-run of a new series: Tales of a Truant Chorister. 

It really belongs on a new, dedicated blog, but in the interest of actually getting it posted, will live here for the time being.

For health reasons I tend to bat about 50% in terms of choir attendance, but I am lucky enough to belong to a fun and welcoming and supportive and incredibly patient group of singing church members who, when gathered together, are: The First Presbyterian Sanctuary Choir.

This Week:

We were honored to be joined by the estimable and delightful Marion Pratnicki for a final voice lesson masterclass, leading us in breathing exercises and bestowing such excellent wisdom as:

  • Dehydration is the enemy.
  • Apples and grapes are preferred vocalist-approved snacks.
  • Caffeine, mint, chocolate, and cinnamon are the devil. 
At which point, I'm afraid M Dodds very nearly lost half the choir. 
Swearing off Pumpkin Spice Lattes this early in Fall is a bridge too far, sir!  
Not to mention harpooning my planned Early Service Social Media event: 
 "Will Sing For Coffee"

Thankfully, a tentative truce was reached by vowing to never be further than 3 feet from a water bottle from now until Christmas Concert.

Regarding the standard course syllabus: 

If you have never had the good fortune to crash a choir rehearsal with M. Dodds, then you have no idea how many nuggets of knowledge you are missing.

We are weekly treated to all sorts of wisdom musical, historical, ecclesiastical. You sing, and you learn.

Fun Facts:

Among the most often played congregational hymns, words that start with "guttural" sounds (like, ya know.. "God") almost never appear in the middle of a line. Because awkward.

We know this because there was a research study.

And now I have this vision of groups of grad students combing through old hymnals, counting 'G' sounds.

Lessons in Music Literature:

Queen of the Night Aria, as performed by Diana Damrau and Parrots.

Coloratura is the type of singing involved in said aria.

Rage Aria is a type of aria to which said aria belongs, and the fact that "Rage Aria" is an actual thing might be my favorite fact about operas.


This Sunday is World Communion Sunday! Expect some world music at most every service anywhere, and enjoy the feeling of unity between your faith community and believers world-wide as we celebrate "The Lord's Supper", as the kids used to call it back in my Baptist days.

But be fore-armed if you're planning to hit early church at 3rd and Cherry; you might want to review the Anthem Of The Week.

I'm not saying there might be audience participation, I'm just saying there will definitely be audience participation.

Reason Number 17 for joining choir:

Music Therapy May Alleviate Psychological, Physical Symptoms Related to Cancer 

Seeya next week, with more fun-facts and helpful hints for hacking choir rehearsals (hint: there's an app for that.)

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