Sunday, December 23, 2007

Winter Chorus Concert

Last week was Part II of our support-your- local- music-director initiative. We went to see the holiday choir concert of a not-so- close-by high school, where this year, a friend started a new position as the choral director. I used to think that choral singing was easier than playing an instrument, but after seeing the work that went into this concert, I’m not so sure. Our friend has a variety of talent levels to work with: the kids who are truly talented, or at the very least love music and singing, and are serious about the work of putting together a successful performance. Then as at every high school, there are always the kids who don't have any particular singing talent, but are just taking chorus because they think it will be an easy grade. So our friend divided the kids up into groups: the general chorus sang first, then the intermediate chorus, and the select chorus finished up, with the quality of the performance improving as the night went on.

The concert was more ambitious than most high school choir concerts I’ve been to. The groups sang a total of 19 songs...and the choral director position is part-time. Amazing. I also applaud her song selection. My daughter’s choir director was also the music director of a Baptist church, and 100% of the holiday concert songs he chose year after year were Christian. Yes, I know it’s a Christmas concert, but couldn’t he have thrown in just one or two numbers that were more secular, or that acknowledged the celebrations of other religious groups during this time of year? Our friend chose plenty of traditional Christian Christmas songs, but added several seasonal, non-denominational songs, and even a few popular tunes. So kudos to her for that.

And now a word about what had to be the worst audience experience I’ve ever had. This high school is more rural than the ones we usually visit for events, and the people sitting behind me were a bunch of boorish rednecks. Sorry, there’s just no polite way to say it. The guy who sat directly behind me cracked his knuckles literally throughout the entire performance. Now, my family is filled with knuckle-crackers, and I’ve learned to put up with it. But how many times can you crack the same knuckle? And why would you do it during a performance? And why would you SING ALONG BADLY just because you happened to know some of the songs? Sadly, we were trapped in the center of a long row, and to move in the middle of the concert would have been disruptive. And I didn’t turn around and smack the guy, because frankly, I’m not sure that rednecks don’t carry weapons. And the entire family seemed to be equally rude, chatting loudly throughout the concert, so I imagine they could have all taken me on easily. So I just sat through it. Don’t get me wrong...high school audiences are the worst no matter where you go. I think it’s because most of the people HAVE TO be there for their kids, but many have no real interest in the music. But this particular group of people just seemed worse than most. Or maybe I just have a knack for attracting the most miserably-behaving people to my section. Word to the wise: choose an aisle seat, and you’ll always be able to make a graceful escape.

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