Thursday, September 19, 2019

Every Breath You Take... rehearsal is a slow process

So I am not quoting a song by the Police (which is not about love, but obsession and stalking!) But it's such a catchy title I had to use it!

Each week in our process to become the choir we want to be, there are steps (and breaths) needed to be taken. Unlike high schools and college choral programs we only get to meet once a week. In our best situations, that means 9 rehearsals per concert. Maybe there is also a "dress" rehearsal, but that is more about logistics and getting a feel for the performance venue. In my mind the "dress" rehearsal is a bit of  a necessary evil, instead of a true focused and meaningful rehearsal.

So back to topic. If we have only 9 rehearsals that's 18 hours of rehearsal. Subtract 15mins each rehearsal for break, announcements, transitions, hopefully some moments of fun and levity. Now we are at 14.5 hours. Let's assume 60 mins (more or less) of music to prepare. Break that down to let's say 8 songs. Somewhere around 7.5 minutes per song (that's not really true, more like 3 minutes, but longer pieces like Brahms on our first concert have 10 minute movements). If evenly divided we might get 1.8 hours of rehearsal on each song, total! That feels like nothing! I ask singers to do some work outside of rehearsal. Let's round up then to 2 hours spread over 9 weeks of rehearsal on each song. As a church musician that's crazy. I have spent 2 hours in one day on some songs and done that for a week in preparation for a 3 mins "performance" on a Sunday morning.

So going back to my blog post title, it was misleading. Yes, sometimes the rehearsal process can feel slow. Sometimes the minutiae we dig into to refine music to make it excellent can feel like an eternity. And in comparison to the fast paced nature of society outside of rehearsal this pace could almost feel grueling. But in reality the rehearsal process for each song is so fast, so incredibly short I am continually appreciative of the work and musicality with which LCA singers continually achieve in performance.

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