This morning was yet another morning off for the Westminster Choir. These mornings are always lazy for me. I treat them as good times to recharge the mental and physical batteries. After breakfast at the hotel, I went back to the room, caught up with my significant other via FaceTime, and read a bit to prepare for my orals. As a graduate student, the final requirement for my degree is the orals examination, where I’m to display my knowledge verbally to a faculty panel that I select for about an hour. It’s pretty intimidating, but I’m determined to enter the semester ready for my studies. About two hours of reading propelled me to finally shower and go out and grab a quick bite for lunch. A nearby Smashburger satisfied my food craving before we boarded the bus to go to the Church of the Incarnation.
A short drive brought us to our destination – A beautiful cathedral that reminded me of my church job back at Princeton. We jumped into rehearsal mode and ran through our program with ease. As I’ve mentioned, we’re pretty good at adapting to the flow of the rehearsal process. We rely on the trust of the ensemble, the support of our section, and we provide comfort to each other. A two-hour rehearsal flew by and we were directed to dinner hosted by the church. I would say this meal was closest to the definition of comfort food: barbecue brisket with rice pilaf and green beans reminded me of my grandparent’s cooking on Sunday afternoons. After dinner, choir members scattered around the church to explore, relax, and take quick maps before our performance. Dr. Miller read two beautiful poems – one of Neruda and another of Dickinson – that put us into the mood of the program. We took to the stage with shining hearts and warm spirits to a completely packed house. The energy of the audience is just as important as the energy of the ensemble. I believe we truly fed off the audience’s energy last night.
I’ve often heard the quote that silence is the canvas on which the musician paints his art. I don’t know who said it, but I couldn’t agree more with the intention. It’s incredibly powerful to watch the souls of the audience settle into our storytelling. Some are uncomfortable; others are completely enamored with our music. These performances give both performers and audience members a chance to remove themselves from the rush of the world. This concert was no different.
After another wonderful concert, we returned to the hotel for a night in. Some of us ran to Taco Bell to grab a late-night snack before bedtime. Tomorrow morning brings the first two high-school workshops!