Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Singing: American Cathedral Choir

Way back in June, when we found out we would be moving to Paris, I wrote to the Choir Director at the American Cathedral here, because it had occurred to me that I could sing with a top-notch choir again on a regular basis. At that time, I thought we would be in Paris in September already. Ha! We finally showed up in Paris at the end of November and didn't even make it to a church service until late January.

I know a member of the choir, Bill Ickes, who had also encouraged me to join the choir and he wasn't there the first two times we attended services, but the next time he was and he introduced me to the choir director, Zachary Ullery. By that time, it was already close to Easter and so we agreed that I would be in touch after Easter so he could hear me. It took me a little longer to get in touch because I was super busy preparing to sing Mozart's Requiem in Dillenburg and I was traveling every weekend in April.

Finally, 2 Sundays ago (May 2013) we were at church and so Bill reintroduced me to Zach. He didn't appear to remember me, but we made arrangements to meet prior to the choir's regular rehearsal in 2 week's time. That was last Thursday. I appeared at the appointed hour, wondering how to get inside the church. Luckily, some construction workers and people who looked like they belonged to the church staff or similar came out and let me inside. Zach took me through some vocaleses and had me sight-read a few things, including Anglican Chant. Oh no! I hadn't done Anglican Chant since my days at Christ the King in Frankfurt and while I know how it works, I was never very masterful at sight-reading it. Well, it went pretty well despite that, and so did the other sight-reading he had me do. I was relatively pleased, because for me, it's a matter of practice, and I've been woefully out of practice sight-reading in the last few years.

He invited me to join the rehearsal by way of continuing the audition. I met the other
members during the break (complete with red wine, baguette, cheese and sausage!) and they were excited to hear I'd likely be around for a couple of years. I guess some people show up and are only staying in Paris for a few months.

I must have passed the test because Zach said I could join them on Sunday (Pentecost). We sang Tallis' "If ye Love Me", Gibbons' "Song 44" and Grayston Ives' "Listen Sweet Dove". Lovely music. My two closest Mom-friends, Francesca and Elisabetta, came and sat with Magnus while Dante went to Sunday School. The choir sits in the (unsuprisingly uncomfortable) choir stalls at the front of the nave and we get all gussied up in cassocks and surpluses!

All in all it was a lovely experience and I will enjoy singing with them on a regular basis. Next week is a big celebration instating the new Dean and Rector, Lucinda Laird and in two weeks the choir sings Evensong! Yippee! I love Evensong.


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