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Windward Notes – A Beer in the Hand…Or Not

Consider this sentence: “I saw a man Sitting at a bar with a Beer.”

Which could mean, depending on the interpretation:

“I saw a man sitting at a bar holding a beer.”

“I saw a man sitting at a bar with his beer on it.”

“I saw a man sitting at a bar that had a beer on it but I didn’t know whose it was.”

“I am using a saw on a man, a bar and a beer (okay, that’s a stretch but it still works).”

Or this quickie:

“Call me a doctor!”

“Okay, you’re a doctor.”


It’s a question of interpretation unless you get the entire story, right? If the sentence had been, “I saw a man sitting at a bar waiting for his friend to come get his beer” then there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room and the reader knows all the details.

What of choral music? When you open a score it may appear that there’s a lot written in stone but is it really? Let’s dig into some of the music from our holiday concert and see just how much of the beer was on the bar or in the chair or…well…you get the idea. And as we explore remember that, although Susie is the one with the interpretations, we are the voice and the translator. It’s a collaboration (and Choral Music is one of the cooler collaborations out there if you ask me). If you have some time cruise YouTube looking for different versions of what we sang; you’ll find that choral music is painted with a seriously broad brush.

“O Nata Lux” is an easy one to consider. The phrasing, the pauses, the flow of the dynamics…we were the sole owners and took the audience on a beautiful journey. There’s a whole lot of ways it could be done and none are “wrong”, I’m just partial to how we presented it (and the time we perforemed it in the second concert was the best ever).

“Praise His Holy Name” seems straightforward enough but it’s not. It was a chance for us to cut loose and let fly and just have a good time and we grabbed it and ran. It’s kind of funny to see how many choirs do this song without moving much. We were dancin’ on the risers and rattlin’ the rafters and Tommy was jammin’ and the bass was loud. The smile on Mrs. Blogmeister’s face stayed wide from the beginning to the end. Good fun.

“I Wonder as I Wander” and “In the Bleak Midwinter” were truly uniquely ours because of the work of the soloists. I really enjoy hearing the voices of a non-auditioned choir’s solos because there’s rarely a “trained” singer and what you get is people dedicated to putting themselves out their and doing their absolute best. Magic. Every time.

You can find so many versions of “O Sifuni Mungu” it’s crazy. Every possible shape and size of singer, venue, you name it. I think we got our “Imbeni” on just fine and it was one of the high points of the concert (and the fact that we didn’t really need to look at the music helped to make it that way). Add a little Sango, stir and serve.

“Silent Night” in five languages. ‘Nuf said.

This post first appeared on The Windward Choral Society's Windward Notes, please read the originial post: here

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Windward Notes – A Beer in the Hand…Or Not


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