New Year… New Notes

Following December’s sell-out Festival of Carols performances (click here to peek at those pictures) and Handel’s Messiah with our friends at the ISO, the 200+ singers of the Symphonic Choir took a much-needed and well-earned choral respite over the holidays. I don’t think any of us dared tabulate the number of hours we spent together during the last six weeks of 2013, but it was memory-filled that’s for sure. Ref: If you caught our “12 Days of Christmas,” at any of the Festival of Carols shows, you know what I’m talking about.

The first rehearsals of 2014 directed our attention toward Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem which the Choir will be singing in May. Many of you know that we typically dedicate anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks learning a given piece of music – with rehearsals for three hours each Tuesday. But this winter and spring bring about three concerts that are spaced “just so” that requires of the singers to have a smorgasbord of choral goodness. Plenty o’ variety, to say the least. See if you can keep up with this:

We’re spending three weeks digging into the notes of the War Requiem to be performed in May; then 3 weeks working on June’s performance of the (FULL!) Ravel Daphnis and Chloe performance with the ISO and DK, and then we take a hard left turn to two weeks of rehearsal on Zadok and Andrew Lloyd Webber for performance at our March 1 Gala Bel Canto. And then back to the Britten. How’s that for variety?

It’s clear that the singers of the Symphonic Choir are a special breed of musician – – for many reasons. But, I’ll have to say there aren’t many choirs that would feel as comfortable switching hats like this: Britten, Ravel, Handel, AL Webber. Now that takes talent.

So what can I say about these first 3 weeks focusing on the Britten? First, we took a big bite out of the music in these rehearsals; a lot of ground was covered musically. The depth of those texts that unite the traditional Requiem text with poetry by Wilfred Own: It’s as if the text is a composition of its own. Truly powerful text. Also, the Britten is a special piece to this organization and all of us associated with it (singers, staff, Board, audience) because there aren’t but a handful of choirs in the U.S. that would have the resources to bring that piece to the stage. It’s a huge orchestra (and challenging), and big choir (and challenging) a very special part for children’s choir and the soloists of course. It really illustrates how fortunate we all are to be a part of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, whether as a singer, as a staff member as a part of our Board, or audiences. This isn’t something you can find just anywhere.

And so, with three weeks of Britten under our belt, we promenade over to Daphnis and Chloe next week for a bit. Mais oui! Here’s to a 2014 of great choral music for the Symphonic Choir and the community we’ve called home for 77 seasons.