I’ve been reflecting on some favorite moments I have had in choir, and I always say something like, “That was DEFINITELY in my Top 10 Favorite Moments,” but I have never actually composed such a list. I figure I’ll take the time to do that now!
1. Spring 2008 Viva Voce rehearsal when we were working on Antonio Lotti’s Crucifixus, an 8-part latin motet depicting the crucifixion of Christ. It’s a really beautiful piece with lots of dissonance and voice layering. In this particular rehearsal we were working on bringing out the tension in the music. The tempo isn’t particularly fast paced, or medium paced for that matter, so drawing out the tension became part of a breathing effort for the group. Prolonging phrases to effectively execute the desired tension while still remaining in tempo was a challenge. I remember coming home from that rehearsal absolutely EXHAUSTED, but it was such a great feeling! Working that hard for music together was a new experience for me…and I loved it.
2. Performing Esto Les Digo by Kinley Lange anytime with Viva Voce. This is probably one of my favorite pieces. I love that it is so compositionally simple, but so dynamically and emotionally demanding. The first time I realized the beauty in this piece was when we performed it at The Reserve at Lake Keowee. They have a chapel that serves choral sound better than anywhere I’ve ever performed. I remember having chills the entire time we sang, and even tearing up at the end. It was probably the first time I had ever been emotionally moved by music, and each time we performed it after that moment I experienced the same feelings.
3. Performing the King’s Singers arrangement of Horizons at The Reserve with Viva Voce, Spring 2008. This piece was actually programmed for CU Singers, but Viva Voce decided to steal it for our set at the Reserve since it was a favorite that semester. I liked the piece, but I was never effected by it until this particular performance. The text tells the story of African hunters coming and taking away food of the villagers in a lullaby kind of way. When we came to the end of the piece and sang the line, “Then they killed us on the far horizon,” which is written as a subito forte in the score, the sound vibrated in the chapel and I had chills! We had gotten into character so well, and I felt like we had successfully told the story.
4. Viva Voce rehearsal Fall 2009, rehearsing Morten Lauridson’s Contre Qui, Rose. The text of the piece deals with being a rose with “thorns,” protecting yourself for no reason. We were working on communicating the text effectively since it is in a foreign language, and we discussed treating it as if we were talking to someone close to us who is struggling. I had everyone go sit by themselves around the room to visualize whatever they needed to to connect with the music while we sang through the piece. I remember thinking that the only person I could think of who has thorns was myself, and this greatly troubled me. It me singing to myself, and it really hit me hard. Overall, I think it was an effective exercise for the group, but I really found a connection in that music that day.
5. Hearing my composition Late Have I Loved You, Beauty at The Reserve with Viva Voce. Hearing my music in a chapel like that, being sung by some of my closest friends and some of the most wonderful singers I have ever heard…I’ll never forget that. It felt like everyone understood me because they were singing text that feel so strongly about through chords that I felt expressed those feelings best. It was really incredible.
Those are my top 5 for now. Perhaps I’m sure I’ll stumble upon more in the future!