September 28, 2012
On Monday of this week, we donned our performance wear, coiffed our performance hair and headed to the Princeton Battlefield to take some Westminster Choir publicity photos. The Battlefield is a state park that preserves the site of the Battle of Princeton (January 3, 1777), where British and American soldiers fought and where an Ionic Colonnade (designed by Thomas U. Walter, the same architect responsible for the Senate and House wings and the Dome on the U.S. Capital building) frames a stone patio marking the grave of the 21 British and 15 American soldiers killed in the battle. The columns provide a stunning backdrop and the late afternoon sun was filtered through beautiful old trees. Dr. Miller had a specific design in mind, and we tried a couple variations on the theme before finding the form that spoke most strongly. During one rendering of the design, the gentlemen were on their knees, proposal style, and it was pretty funny watching them try to keep their tux pants tidy and to hear the commentary while we waited for further instructions. (“Should our toes be pointed or tucked under?” “I am losing feeling in my foot.” “Ladies, hoist me up!”) The final product is a beautiful picture that will be displayed with the publicity for our tour in January and other events that require such visual presence.
It was also the week of Dr. Miller’s birthday, which fell on a Thursday. Westminster Choir only meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so we didn’t get to celebrate the actual day together. That morning in Master Singers, though, Dr. Miller was presented with a cake and an arrangement of Happy Birthday written by one of the members of that choir. Master Singers is an ensemble of mostly graduate students with a few undergraduates whose primary purpose is to perform at graduate conducting recitals. Every two weeks, two conductors rehearse repertoire, have master classes, and give a recital. I will probably be mentioning Master Singers more in the next couple of posts, since my turn is coming up!
Choir met on Friday, almost the entire choir was early to help set up another ‘gift’ for our esteemed leader. A couple of years ago, members of the choir got ahold of a photograph of a young Joe Miller, moustached, looking very serious. This photo has circulated through the choir and shows up in a prank at least once a year. This year, to show our love, we taped up 400 photocopies of the picture to places in The Playhouse to greet him at the start of the rehearsal. He was amused, and slightly horrified. We got some great laughs that immediately transferred into focused, purposeful rehearsal built on a familial foundation of love and respect.