Wednesday, April 11, 2007


We have to memorize every song in our upcoming concert. In my performing experience in high school and college bands and orchestras we always had the music on the stand in front of us. At my church choir, too, we hold the music in our hands. So memorizing has been a challenge for me. It's not just memorizing the pitches and rhythms, but also the cut offs and dynamics and every other aspect of the music. Plus the movements that we do for some songs. And, of course, the words.

The hardest songs to memorize are actually those where I sing the least. We have several songs where the chorus accompanies a solo singer. Our back up vocals are often wordless oos, but sometimes ahs, or mms. Punctuated here and there with a seemingly random word or phrase. Just singing through my part there's no logical connection between the phrase I sing at one place, and a different phrase 8 bars later. So there's no way to use reason to help memorize why we sing what we sing when we sing.

And then at the rehearsal last Monday I figured out the simple solution: listen to the soloist.

Duh! The soloist has the full lyric. They fill in all the missing pieces that I don't have. And my part makes perfect sense in the context of the solo line.

You would think that a spiritual leader would know automatically to think of the big picture and how an individual fits into the whole, not to mention the need to listen. But I sure missed it this time.


Edward said...

Can we get a sampling during this Sunday's sermon? It might help you to memorize your parts even better if you incorportate it somehow...not to mention that practicing in front of a crowd of appreciative UU's is a sure thing for applause!

(Eve again)

Rev. Ricky said...

Thanks for the encouragement but I think I'll decline your suggestion. I try not to make the worship service too much about me. I mean it aleady is enough already without making it more so. And anyway singing the bass part from a choral arrangement doesn't make for a very interesting, or coherent, solo. You'll just have to come to the concert.