Tuesday, March 01, 2005

two choirs

Last night brought something of an incongruous experience, as I attended half each of two choir practices. The first was the recently combined choir, who I visited in the capacity of researcher, and the second was a choir that I sing in. The first choir had a camp over the weekend, and were seeing eachother again as a choir for the first time since the camp. The mood was positive and excited, and the tension from the first rehearsal, while still tangible, is diminishing. During the rehearsal, the I joined in the warm-up tentatively from the corner where I was standing, and then went and sat on the end of a row of Sopranos to follow the score when they began rehearsing music. I find when I'm in the situation, the sensations of singing, and of being so close to the sound has a euphoric effect on me. It almost doesn't matter what is being sung, I just want to join in, and I enjoy the experience of singing, and of listening. But my capacity to listen critically is, i think, diminished. I don't always hear 'timbre', or 'intonation', or 'articulation,' untill I listen to the recording at home. The thing about the experience of the rehearsals, though, is that I am remembering why I started singing in choirs in the first place. I know it won't always feel that way, but there is something in the experience that is pleasantly addictive. Perhaps it's really as simple as all that. Perhaps the reason young South Africans sing is choirs is the same reason anyone sings at all. It is physically pleasurable.

The rehearsal that I attended afterwards, though, was far less pleasant, and in fact quite stressful. There is a lot of in-fighting going on with that choir, and that reached a head last night, but perhaps as a result of all of that, the music wasn't the central issue. The physical pleasure of singing is far outshadowed by the discomfort of the situation, and while I still enjoy the sound of the music, and the sensation of using my voice and my body in that way, there is no euphoria. It just reminded me how important the situation and the people involved in the experience are.

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