Sunday, December 14, 2008

Messiah and Orson Scott Card

So, Tonight I took my family to a local Messiah sing-in.

I'll get the complaining over with first. Three of the four soloists left a great deal to be desired. The soprano is the same soprano as it always is. She is, from what I understand, a sponsor of the event, so they let her sing the soprano solo part. The woman teaches voice at the local university, but her musical diction is atrocious. She sounds like a country hick trying to sing like an opera star. She can't sing the short 'e' sound to save her life. It comes off sounding like a short 'i'. So instead of "...thEm that sleep..." it's "...ThIm that sleep..." Ugh. The alto soloist simply lacked dynamic variety and imaginative interpretation, the tenor solo got better as the evening progressed, but at first his diction was awful. The bass was the best of the group. His diction could use some improvement, but you have to give the guy BOOKOO brownie points for being blind and having the entire thing memorized!

BUT, it was SO much fun singing the choruses with a couple hundred other people! I haven't sung much in the past few months, so my voice had gotten rusty. I'm singing in church the Sunday before Christmas, and have been giving the vocal chords something of a workout. It was nice to test out the pipes a week before the performance in a venue that would cover up for me if I totally blew that high A--which I didn't. Thanks goodness!

Anyway, every time I sing the Messiah, my mind goes back to Orson Scott Card's Literary Boot Camp 2005.

An amazing experience for a writer, by the way.

In talking, OSC and I found we had a mutual love of all-things-Messiah (as in Handel's Messiah). He actually collects recorded versions of the famous Oratorio. He told me of one in which a Southern gospel choir sings it in true Southern gospel choir fashion. Sounds amazing! That's a recording I have yet to look up, but have meant to ever since.

But that conversation with OSC was one of those that I will always look back on with some regret. It was a low time for me. I was in the beginning stages of major depression and experiencing the physical effects of it already, including slow memory recall and sluggish thoughts.

So we were talking Messiah, and I told him I had recently sung a solo part in our church's presentation of portions of the Messiah. He asked me which ones, and I COULD NOT THINK OF THE TITLES OR THE TUNES!!! He must have thought I was lying just to impress him, or a complete idiot, or both.

So, for the record, now that my brain works like it should:

"There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Fields"
"And the Angel Said Unto Them"
"And Suddenly There Was With the Angel"

(Another soloist sang "And Lo, The Angel of the Lord Came Upon Them" which would come second in this quartet of little solos leading into the amazing chorus, "Glory to God.")

I hit the high A that day, too.

So next Sunday I'm singing an arrangement of French carols, including "Then Hurry Shepherds," "He is Born, the Divine Christ Child," and "Angels We Have Heard on High," all accompanied by piano, cello, and my daughter on her viola. We had our first practice yesterday. It's going to be a WOW!!!

1 comment:

Holly said...

Ummm - I would like to be there. Nobody around here knows what the Messiah is, I swear. I love the Messiah. Singing in the stake choir the year we did that was such a sublime experience for me. Jared and I went to several Messiah sing-ins before we had kids. Haven't been since. Miss that Christmas experience... a lot. Someday you can remind OSC of that experience and maybe even sing for him! That would be awesome! Good luck Sunday. I would truly love to be there. Hmmm - maybe I should bring it up with Jared! Will you be singing in the CH ward? Remind me of the start time of SM again.