May 16th, 2003


three days 'til we go Over the Top

Philadelphia is still hovering on the edge of rain, a state which always leaves me with uncomfortable sinuses. I had Thursday off from work, so was able to sleep in, then meandered around in a daze doing some laundry instead of writing. Before I left home for my afternoon rehearsal, I put on a nice crisp blue shirt to perk myself up (over a tank top, because the German Society room is very stuffy). I blew off my extra hour or so after lunch by browsing in Strawbridge & Clothier, because it's conveniently close to the 8th Street L stop. Was not in the mood for shopping and successfully prevented myself from spending too much money on a cool bracelet I have no need for.

Rehearsal went well, but I am still nervous about the dress tomorrow. That will be our first and only complete run before the performance. I know adrenaline will keep me on my toes for all the transitions, but it's not just me that counts, it's close to a hundred singers whose hearts have to beat as one. And I want it to be fabulous. I may never get to sing "St. Matthew Passion" again, and I want it to be fabulous; I want it to make an impression on the audience, and I want to be transported.

There's an extra edge one gets from live performance. Concentration is always intense when singing, but there's a little extra adrenaline when there's an audience; it's like you're getting feedback from them, which you then spin out to them again. And you're singing for them, trying to make yourself more for their sake and for the sake of the music itself. "Serving the music," as The Donald says. It's hard to explain. (It's always hard for me to put my singing self into words. I think singing and writing take up similar space in my brain, and I can't give up either of them, because it would be like amputating.)

We still haven't heard the New Jesus, but we heard our baritone Pontius Pilate for the first time yesterday. He has one of those rich, dark voices that is best described as "virile." And I mean that in the best way. Nummy, nummy, nummy.

I'm up at the crack of dawn (not literally) to get warmed up a bit before my 8:30 am call. First run of the entire piece with everybody. First run in the actual performance hall. First time with no stopping.