The new version of RiteStuff, the denomination software my church uses, turns out to be a very complicated revision.
It is like new software to me. I began yesterday morning by using the registration info the church secretary provided me. My idea was to do my morning tasks using the new software. Yikes. Picking my way through it turned out to be confusing. At the same time I could see new possibilities in how I could possibly use it once I learned it.
I looked for tutorial information online about RiteStuff 2.0. Finally in the afternoon (after I had managed to accomplish my tasks despite the new software) I found the User Manual tucked away at the bottom of the web page. Even though I couldn’t get the dang thing to stop loading online I did manage to read some of it and could see that it would be a key for me to understanding how the software might work.
The church secretary wisely kept the old version on her computer even as she had installed the new one. My boss and I agreed our task this summer is to look at this software and decide how we will use it.
The choir at church is stumbling along. People are skipping rehearsals and Sundays, scheduling other stuff in these times. Last night I had to cancel an upcoming anthem when three of my five men indicated they were not planning to attend on Sunday, June 1. It will be relatively simple to come up with a substitute anthem for this Sunday, but I am disappointed we won’t be able to sing Healey Willian’s lovely “God has gone up with a shout.” Oh well. Yesterday I had picked a prelude and postlude by Willan for this Sunday. Maybe I’ll still perform them. Willan is an important Anglican composer and I do enjoy preserving his status by using his music in this setting.
I worked hard on vocal production last night. In such a small ensemble it is essential to continue to emphasize good vocal sounds. We have a new soprano. I hadn’t thought that it would be so evident that joining this late in the season would present a difference in vocal production in the newbie. I do emphasize vocaleses throughout the choir season, spending as much as ten or fifteen minutes on exercises. We had a spectacular sound on Good Friday. I like to think my doggedness in persisting with vocal exercises had something to do with that.
In the meantime, I can’t really work on choral sound with such differing groups of singers (different people at rehearsals and performances). I have to triage the sound the day of the performance. I can however, work on individual vocal production and make sure people know their parts as well as possible. That’s what I did last night.
I feel pretty good about not succumbing to discouragement as a conductor in the face of these difficulties. I think that choristers enjoy the rehearsal despite these obstacles and leave feeling good about being a choir member.
Fuck the duck. Toujours gai, Archie!