Tonight begins a marathon of slightly S&M events. I am sure it isn’t a painful experience for everyone, but it has that potential for me. This evening is the dress rehearsal for the dress rehearsal for the final Great Music for Great Cathedrals extravaganza. This fabulous spectacle of music, song, dance, and light has been an almost annual St. James tradition for twenty-five years. Over four hundred people, mostly volunteers, are involved. More than a hundred musicians will be taking part. It is truly a wonderful, all-encompassing experience. Most of the time. At other times it is slightly torturous. The mountain of work involved, while not torturous, is definitely tortuous. In years past, I have been involved in preparing props, sewing costumes, and the like. This year, my only role, other than being in the choir, is helping bring treats and sustenance for the stage crew. Learning the music is nothing, compared with learning where to go, what to do when, what one should be wearing when one does it, and then keeping one’s mind on the business at hand at all times. And once one has firmly grasped all this, there is the standing around, being quiet (not my norm), nervously awaiting one’s next entrance, and hoping against hope that one doesn’t go to the wrong spot, or in any way make a spectacle of one’s self. One year, I had my cues all memorized, knew the order of everything, but in the excitement, forgot about one piece. I was stumbling about in the dark getting ready to sing Rachmaninoff, when Jim the director, also feeling his way about in the dark, said, “What are you doing here?” in a rather horrified voice. “Getting ready to sing Rachmaninoff,” I confidently answered. “NO!” he said. “You’re a ped*!” Appalled, I scuttled off to join my fellows Schola ladies and be a ground bass. I hope and pray that nothing like this happens tonight.
*In some early music, the ground bass is called the “ped,” or “foot.” Or maybe the people singing it are the peds. Not really sure about that. The peds sing the same few measures over and over, and the melodic parts happen above this. It can be very beautiful.
The photos are taken by Maria Laughlin during GMGC's of yore.
18 hours ago