triage in the choir loft

Yesterday was a particularly challenging Sunday to work with the choir.  Anxiety seemed very high in several members. At the same time, coherence of this anxiety was down. Several people came in late, without their music and proceeded to struggle through the rehearsal.  Plus we weren’t sounding sound very good, vocal wise in this rehearsal.

Part of my job is to help a group of people with limited commitment to perform music in service in ways that are as artistic as possible.  Yesterday was definitely a triage day. Half way through preparation of the anthem I switched strategies from teaching the anthem to working on vocal production.

I had difficulty keeping people focused.

To show how desperate I was, for the first time with this group of singers I mentioned my little maxim for musicians:

To be early is to be on time.

To on time is to be late.

To be late is unforgivable.

I quickly appended that I understood that church choir was a very small part of their lives and that I do not expect them to be professional in their commitment. But that the music does not understand this.

I felt that I had to make this comment to reinforce the confidence and morale of the singers who are on time and prepared and focused. Plus for my own integrity.


Speaking of which this was a particularly good week for the final execution in public of the organ music I prepared.  I chose two pieces both of which has some technical challenges for me.  I have been experimenting around with better practice techniques. One very simple almost silly idea is to insist to myself that I play sections through at least 8 times when rehearsing them.

Sunday morning found me doing some final rehearsal of sections this way while I waited for choir members to arrive.

Then in the prelude and the postlude I was able to focus pretty clearly on “making music” as we musicians say. I was very satisfied with the result.

My cellist handed me an envelope with two pop songs she needs arranged for her string quartet: Yellow by Coldplay and November Rain by Guns N’ Roses. I agreed to try my hand at that. This is just the sort of thing I enjoy doing.

After an intense post service rehearsal I came home pretty exhausted.  After lunch I finally installed the back up drive I purchased recently.

My blood pressure had spiked this week a bit (158/97), so I made myself treadmill even though I was exhausted.

Walking to church yesterday I started writing a poem or essay or something about my second grade teacher, Mrs. Disney. Will post if I finish it and I feel like it’s worth reading.

Today I have a full day ahead of me: three ballet classes and a worship commission meeting.



Book Review – Unfamiliar Fishes – By Sarah Vowell –

This book looks fun. Especially if I can get hold of Vowell herself reading it.


Abandoned.Trailer.Cleveland.Texas  300x183 Assault Against 11 Year Old: Defense Attorney Blames Victim, Activist Claims Racism

Cleveland, Texas and Gender Jim Crow by William Jelani Cobb | The Nation

I recently read a book by the author of this article about the “category five media storm” surrounding the recent gang rape of an 11 year old girl in Cleveland Tennessee.


FCC takes belated action on ‘fake news’: On the Media –

As the article says the good news is that ‘fake news’ is being reined in, the bad news is that it took four years.


Hypertension – PubMed Health

This is the link I looked at after my blood pressure spiked. I have been drinking a bit more but I’m not sure that is the problem.  This article linked in to Alcoholism and alcohol abuse – PubMed Health which in turn links back in to Hypertension – PubMed Health.  Whenever I evaluate my drinking habits, I find that I am historically a heavy drinker, but do not exhibit any of the classic alcoholic symptoms like disruption of work habits or  relationship problems. I think the spike is probably related to a bunch of stuff in my life including stress and exhaustion. Will continue to try to lose weight, moderate the drinking a bit, and exercise. Can’t deny that I’m just an old guy.


Former FCC Chairman Powell to Lead Cable Industry Group PC Magazine

Ay yi yi. Fox in charge of the henhouse. Business as usual in the USA.


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