shop talk


So church work is percolating along in the usual crazy manner. I have been courting a parishioner, encouraging her to meet with me weekly and work together on her flute playing. She message me yesterday that not only could she not make our appointment today, but she really needed to back away for the time being due to health reasons. Perfectly reasonable.

Then i received a text from a choir member. He wouldn’t be coming to rehearsal even though he knew I would be introducing new music. When I arrived at the rehearsal, another chorister had written on the calendar that he would be arriving late due to a lecture being giving on The German Requiem of Brahms (which he and other members of my choir are singing with a local group). Several people have signed out for upcoming rehearsals. We only have six weeks left.

I continue to attempt to draw volunteers into more commitment by providing some cool music and good rehearsal techniques. This fails. I realize this is not something unique to my situation. In our society in the USA people’s commitment to extra activities has changed drastically. This makes little things like amateur choirs and handbell choirs very difficult to do well.

I gave a good rehearsal last night. But it was difficult. I systematically presented the new material attacking two of the three challenging pieces with strategic rehearsal techniques that seemed to pay off immediately.

We ended the rehearsal going down the organ and singing through Sunday’s Alice Parker anthem (easy) and the E. Stanley Roper rendition of Bach’s “Flocks in pastures green abiding” (not so easy). The people present did a good job with this especially for a first run through evening.

Speaking of this last piece, as I prepared for last night’s rehearsal I realized I didn’t know anything about how this famous adaptation from Bach’s Cantata 208 came into popularity. Since then I have been poking around, googling, looking at text books and trying to figure out where the choral harmonies and text came from since they are not original to Cantata 208 which is a hunting cantata.

Afterwards I had two choristers wanting to continue to attend the Brahms lectures. They will go for two more weeks. One of them immediately backed down when I began explaining to her my strategy of learning some cool music. She had (of course) arrived too late to hear this explanation that I gave to the people present at the beginning of rehearsal. The other chorister was undaunted when I pointed out that it was inconvenient to church choirs to schedule an important series of lectures on Wednesday evenings because we were not the only church choir rehearsing on this night. He pointed out that the church where the lecture was being given must not have their choir rehearsal on that night.


I will continue to keep trying to figure out where “Flocks in pastures green abiding” originated. Plus I think I’m going to look closer at the original score from the Cantata and see what I glean from that.



2 thoughts on “shop talk

  1. I thought this too !- It’s very bizarre that they scheduled those talks for Wednesday nights, since the most likely people to want to attend a talk about the Brahms requieum would probably be people who sing in a church choir (and most church choirs rehearse Wed nights!)
    I’d be up for piano duets again sometime, if you’re interested…

    1. I AM interested. What sounds good? I have those Bach Brandenbergs for four hands and I bought another book of Schubert original compositions for the same. I’ll start practicing them so I can play them as good as you sight read them (which is probably better than I can play them)…. : )

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