Friday, November 11, 2016

From the Choir Loft: West African Pygmies and Metonymy

Some weeks, The Truant Chorister practically writes itself.

Okay, alright.

Most weeks..

We began our latest rehearsal with a thorough overview of M. Dodds' latest accolades and endeavors:

-- recap of the trip to Vancouver to present a paper for the American Musicology Society (Internal and External Factors of Seicento Modal Conventions)

-- overview of the year at Yale and upcoming book (something about how music changed from Renaissance to Baroque jams)

-- and the launch schedule for the movie about that choral symphony he wrote a couple years ago (Release TBD depending on which film festivals accept it).

But I have to be honest, I really didn't follow most of this, as I was still disoriented by the new seating arrangement. 

For extra credit, here's a link to What-The-Heck-Is-Musicology (paraphrased title).

Fun Facts:

Altos are the accommodating family members of the choir. Which is how we wind up with the awkward lines to sing.

Metonymy** is the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant, for example 'suit' for business executive, or 'the track' for horse racing.

Or as the kids say: slang.

Which came up because of the last lines of "It Is Well With My Soul".

"Even So" is short-hand for the last lines of Revelation:
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
**Extra points to Rosemary

World Music History:

I want to caveat this week's World Music History section with the statement that I have NO IDEA how we wound up on this subject and it is a true tragedy that choir rehearsals are not documented on video.

The Polyphonic singing of the indigenous people of Western Zaire (of a specific group I could not track down with google because the spelling I guessed was apparently completely utterly wrong) is some of the most joyful on earth. 

Except for Bach. Because everyone knows the first rule of choral singing: Bach wins. Every time. #GOAT

But the important takeaway is that it involves polyphonic off-beat yodeling. (Warning: Link not verified for possible National Geographic-type authentic images. Follow at own risk.)

But what I thought was a group of people might be the name of a song inspired by their singing-- "Ba-Benzélé" .

And this, people, is why we really need visual aids. Or a white board.

But the takeaway is that it is joyful. Like Bach. And Joyful Singing is one of my favorite Biblical themes. 

The Joy of the Lord is your strength. 

The Truant Chorister acknowledges failing the class with this week's notes. Apologies.

From the peanut gallery:

In lieu of that whistling section, may I suggest: Kazoos. I'm just saying.

This week!

And old favorite of veteran choir members: Majesty and Glory of Your Name (Fettke)

Plus! Bells. I'm just saying.

Christmas Music Season is fast approaching. The schedule is below, please invite friends to sing with us, especially for Everybody Loves Handel! 

M Dodds (with enthusiasm): "So can we commit to doing the Christmas Concert by memory?!?!" 
Choir: "Can we move the concert to April?" 

Choose Your Own Choir Adventure:

1. All-season Sunday Morning Sanctuary Choir
 Commitment: Choir rehearsal from 6:30-8:30 Wednesday nights

2. Christmas Concert Dec 11th only
Commitment: First half of Wednesday rehearsals

3. Christmas EVE choir
Commitment: a couple fun and festive! rehearsals between 12/18 and 12/24

4. New! Everybody Loves Handel - One Sunday Only, Dec 18th performance of "For Unto Us"
Commitment: One! Dec 14th Wenesday rehearsal

Feel free to use the image above for your social media promotions!


  1. Excellent blog. Sorry I missed a great rehearsal. Should be there Sunday morning. Thanks Jen.

  2. What would we do without you Jenny! Great recap!