(in its current mostly-adult incarnation, the previous core now being away at colleges across the country) had its first public performances today. The first was a performance during Mass but which could also be considered a final run before the really public performance 3 hours later at "An Ecumenical Musical Gathering" hosted by St. Jude's Parish (Roman Catholic) and featuring choirs from Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, LDS, Methodist churches, and of course St. Jude's.
Each performance began with a few words by the priest, minister or equivalent, about (what might be different about) his church, and was followed by a prayer.
The tone was kept light, which helped relax the initial stiffness. The Presbyterian prayer was read antiphonally, beginning with the Gospel side. Then the Lutheran pastor announced theirs would also be read antiphonally, but beginning with the Epistle side because Lutherans are so flexible. "Catholics are not," exclaimed Fr. Rogerson to much laughter.
We led off the event. In his remarks Fr. Davis worked to lower expectations (and he says I'm the king of lowered expectations??), saying that he'd only arrived here in the Pacific Northwest just six weeks backs and one of the very first phone calls he received was an invitation to participate in this event. "Of course we'll bring a choir," he said.
He noted that he then addressed the parish saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to form a choir." More laughter.
But I was glad that we were first up. By the time the bigger and more experienced choirs were done we'd be forgotten. And we were presenting a tough, if short a capella piece, Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart.
And yet... it didn't sound bad to me, and better than our practices and earlier performance. I'll just ignore my own struggles with it; I'm not used to singing parts but with practice I can learn that. (The Haugen piece by all the choirs combined at the finale gave me a much better sense for singing parts, and I enjoyed that!)
And yet... all of us in Schola Cantorum were singled out for accolades after it was all over. Questions as to whether we had had only six weeks to prepare (yes, though some of us had been trained in Schola Cantorum under Fr. McGrath's tutelage). Comments about doing this somewhat difficult piece a cappella -- and one of the choirs essayed this a couple of years ago. and knew its difficulty.
Beginner's luck maybe, or possibly just because we were just giving it our all (some people noticed this) because we'd reached really far? I don't know.
With practice I am sure I can do better, and extend my vocal range to cover the upper end of tenor (without choking) the way it once did.
Maybe someday I can even sing half as well as Matt.
-- Update: MANY thanks to Laura for the photos!