Sunday, December 06, 2009

First alto for a day

Today was the dress rehearsal and performance of the Messiah sing-along at Calvary Pres in South Pasadena. (The picture is last year's sing-along; I'm not in it.) Those of us who'd been rehearsing together were seated up front in the choir area. I arrived early and snagged a nice seat up in the back.

Then halfway through the rehearsal, it transpired that the alto who was seated at the end of the front row wasn't comfortable there, so I traded with her. My new location was quite exposed, out on the stage and nearer to the audience than anyone else. And naturally the music I thought I had learned well enough was a bit trickier with the added distraction of a full orchestra and all. But I ended up loving the spot. All the soloists stood right in front of me to sing and they all sounded great, especially the shockingly good tenor who'll be performing the same thing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall these next two weekends. I had a good view of the harpsichordist, who looked like a dark-haired Neil Patrick Harris, not that I noticed. Also, I was nearest the director and he looked at me a lot when cueing the altos... surely not because he sensed I needed remedial help or anything... :) An alto in the audience told me later that she'd looked to me for her cues. I'm afraid that means she missed several entrances!

(My spell-checker says to say "cuing", not "cueing". They're both looking weird to me.)

After we all sang the rousing Hallelujah chorus, we trooped downstairs for the yummy reception. I walked by a group that had been in the audience, and one of them greeted me: "Ah, the first alto!" Only then did it occur to me that my seat had been the one that would traditionally be given to the best alto singer... if it was a choir that tracked such things, which our all-volunteer group certainly didn't. But I've never been first-anything in music and it was rather fun to be mistaken for such. Hopefully the entire audience believed the same. :)

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