Our singers (and our staff) "parachute in" on Tuesday afternoons (as one of our staff members observed last year) after an already-long day at school, on their way to and from countless other activities and obligations. They are juggling football, volleyball, cheerleading, tennis, dancing, band practice, dentist appointments, homework, not to mention the all-important social agenda, and maybe a little family time thrown in along the way. (The car-pool logistics alone rival a NASA launch in complexity!) We're trying to fend off the swine flu, and we're already missing kids absent from rehearsal or musicianship class for one reason or another.
It's hot, they're tired, and in week three, almost every piece of music is still new, difficult, and in some language that isn't English. ("Folders up; let's read it in solfa . . . handsigns, please! Boys, posture! Sing it in canon; now let's sing it in German. Girls, more singing, less talking, please! Now in canon, with the text, in German. . .") It's a little early to get excited about Christmas music, especially in weather that's more suited for flip-flops and shorts than sweaters!
Meanwhile, our younger singers are working on the basics: how to sit, how to stand, how to make a nice vowel, how to find their places in a choral score. There's so much to learn besides singing!
Somehow, though, everyone settles in at the end of this hot, chaotic day, and we focus on the intonation of the half-step, or the rhythm patterns we are reading or writing. There are moments of beauty, artistry and sensitivity in these fundamental steps, and with every note they sing, I'm more aware of the amazing potential of these young people, musical and otherwise. I'm inspired by their curiosity, energy and talent.
By next Tuesday, it will be October, and we will be one week closer to the Carol Concert and the Ranching Heritage Candlelight tour. It's time to break out the Christmas music. And (we hope) the sweaters. I can't wait. :)