This is the 5th year I've completed with the EKOS Choir which has been established for over 30 years. Our season final concert this last weekend at the Arts Barns was a splendid success. It was sold out for both performances. This choir is more than just fun to work with, in that a high level of achievement and intent is maintained and somehow improved with each year. I think it comes down to the expectations of citizenship that every member participates in —they are truly a wonderful social group as well.
It really reflects the philosophy of our esteemed director who has brought the choir along from the very beginning. PR has high hopes for the fulfillment of her musical dreams while bringing the choir along on her (now ours) ambitious musical journey. On one hand she makes it a lot of fun but not without challenges through her choreography dance moves, and of course through the need for memorization of lyrics and vocal parts. I can tell you that every year is different with new challenges and new pieces. The choir has gone through reams of material over the years. Seldom is there a repeat from year to year.
It takes a good deal of effort for everyone to learn their parts and of course, no one works harder than PR herself. It's really quite unique. PR meticulously puts each of the parts for each of the pieces on 'SCORCH' files that are accessed via the internet. This truly makes it possible to present material that would be well beyond the means of a choir-group that meets only once a week for rehearsals. As it comes closer to concerts there are extra sessional rehearsal which I'm happy to be there for because of the commitment that all the choir members seem to have. This seems to be quite important to them. Rehearsals are very organized and sometimes hard work to go over parts and first learn them — for each song. It's amazing that it all comes together bit by bit according to PR's grand plan.
For the concert finale this year, we presented a theme. The theme of New Orleans. What a great opportunity for a show. There is always a show-type atmosphere, even though the pieces are really all about the music and the singing, this added element makes the show interesting, elegant, fun, and, engaging for both the choir and the audience. There is an MC who ties the show together with a little appropriate patter, and quite a bit of variety which is always thoughtfully paced.
When the show comes together, it's then that we see and feel what all the effort is about. PR's conducting prowess, which expresses her deeply felt convictions about a piece, comes to the fore and the choir responds directly to this conviction. It is at this time, more than Ever before, that learning and a deeper understanding of the music and its potential for nuance and response come to fruition. It becomes a spontaneous journey through the music while we are there standing still in a sense, at the pivotal point of consciousness witnessing it all go by and being delighted by what we learn in that moment of performance. Music is great let me tell you. Having the audience there absorbing the musical-energy-thought and reflecting it back is the thing. The venue, the audience, the show, the musicians, and the music all seriously cared for add up to a truly fulfilling experience for everyone including myself. Seeing all the choir members involved and smiling—especially PR is very gratifying.
So we arrive at a new level of joy, understanding and a bit of a victory which is no small thing.
Stay tuned for my feelings on playing with our wonderful band this year our concert finale.