Rehearsals for the annual Lessons and Carols service at church began last Tuesday evening, in the freezing-cold church where we go every week. I'd never been at the altar before, except for confirmation and communion, so facing the pews was a little jarring, but only a little.
As our congregation is small, we combine with another Episcopal church (which ironically is close to our house, but the one we chose has staff that return phone calls and answer email). They're congregation is also small, and really, the neighborhood doesn't need two Episcopal churches, but ours is very much “high” church, and still uses the 1928 version of the Book of Common Prayer, while the other is a bit more relaxed.
In any case, rehearsal was challenging on Tuesday because I was stuffy-headed, so couldn't hear well, and the only other alto was a very sweet but completely tone deaf member of our regular choir. I try never to sit near her, even though she's completely dear, because she meanders through music the way a drunk wanders a dark alley, but with only two of us, I had no choice. This morning, another of our choir members was in the alto section with me, as was Sister A, from the other church, who has a rich alto voice. The three of us blended well, and ignored our tone-deaf friend, for the most part. However, I'm now a little nervous, because there are two songs during which the sopranos sing a descant and the altos sing the melody in their place, and I'm the only person in the alto section who can hit the high notes. The others drop down an octave, on those pitches. This is FINE when we're not supposed to be carrying the melody, but makes things a bit ponderous when we are. Guess who will be doing LOTS of vocal warm ups and range-stretching exercises in her shower for the next few weeks?
It was nice to chat with Sister A during our down-time. She complimented my range and voice – hers is beautiful. She also mentioned that Fuzzy has a beautiful voice (he does, he does!) but I'm not sure he heard that. He sings bass, if you can imagine. But then, people who've only heard me speaking casually think I have a much higher singing voice than I do.
I spent the evening hemming my surplice so it'd be ready tomorrow. It's the worst hemming job EVER, as I was fighting my own lack of practice with this sewing machine, the machine's desperate need for a tune-up, and cheap thread, and I will probably rip the hem out and re-do it during the week, or have it professionally altered, but for tomorrow, it'll be fine, at least, and there's comfort in the knowledge that, now that we're robing for Mass, I can wear comfy clothes to church because no one will see.
Though, I have a sudden urge for extremely dramatic jewelry.
It's nearly midnight, but it's been a long day – rehearsal at ten, cleaning almost all day, cooked a roast as well, and then sewing (Fuzzy had to help with the replacement needle, and we had to make a trip to find emergency thread), and we have to be back for “normal” choir rehearsal at 8:30 in the morning.
May you all have a restful Sunday, and a fabulous week.