Last night was the first performance. My fabulous DH took me out to dinner at Rosie McCann’s, a local Irish pub for bangers and mash and a half pint of Bass. The half pint of Bass came way before the bangers and mash. I really should have waited to drink the ale, but I was thirsty. I hoped the beer would mellow me out some and loosen up the phlegm in my throat. It did both those things, but also made me a little tipsy.

I wasn’t tipsy by the time I got to the warm up room, but I was definitely a little worried on the way there. I won’t make that mistake again. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And in truth, really didn’t do anything other than make me worry differently about messing up in the performance, like I didn’t have enough senarios going about that already!

Anyway, I arrive, the choir is up on stage working on different sections of the pieces they’re singing and generally getting warmed up. I am taken, with the other soloists, to the “warm-up room.” It’s mostly a dusty, musty smelling room that has a great echo. The soprano who came over with me headed in to the bathroom and proceeded to warm up there. I don’t think she knew just how loud the echo from the bathroom was. I was across the hall, through two closed doors and could hear her clearly. Sopranos warming up are scary. Impossibly high pitches being screetched out at full volume. There’s a point to that. She wants to sing higher than she’ll have to sing in the performance so that those notes will float easily out.

I’m glad I’m not a soprano. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this soprano’s voice; it’s just the warm ups that are hard to take. So I started my own warm-ups. I attempted to sing some of the more difficult passages and discovered that I had no sense of the key, so stopped torturing myself and just sang a bunch of notes, up high, down low, weird modulations because I could. It was fun to be in an echo-y room where I’m supposed to noodle around with my voice.

Choir members start showing up. It’s such a lovely, warm experience to be wanted. There are many people in this choir who I sang with almost 15 years ago. Most of them remember me, the ones that do have gone out their way to welcome me back and to ask over and over again if I’m coming back to sing with the choir or just to do this solo gig. I’m coming back. I had intended to audition to join the choir, and instead ended up with the solo gig for this concert.

The music is glorious. Many people in the audience that I know. More than I expected.

I’m up, I’m singing. The solo choir starts out together and then the soprano comes in with a line by herself and I’m to follow. She’s so beautiful that I completely lose my thought and while I come in on time, I come in under pitch. It’s not bad, but it’s off enough that the director gives me the pitch finger (it’s the index finger pointing to heaven). Ah well, I finish the line on key, and don’t let it bother me that I was under pitch. This is actually a much bigger deal than it sounds. Normally, when I mess up, my brain freezes as I try to figure out what happened and how to never let that happen again, and as it’s processing, the rest of me is attempting to continue to sing, but am now completely lost because I’m not all there. I didn’t do that. I simply noted it and went on, getting better as I went.

I’m not sure what the difference was, but I am glad of it. The rest of the music went off without a hitch. There was a section in the second piece I sing where I noticed that I was pronouncing a German word completely wrong. Again, instead of panicking, I just kept singing and yet managed to note what went wrong so that I can fix it for this afternoon.

The two pieces I sing in are in the first half, so I sat in the audience with DH for the second half. This choir is GOOD. I’m excited to be making music with them. We’re singing the Mozart Requiem for the next concert. I’ve sung it before. I’m not sure which choir I sang it with. And this strikes me as funny. I just went to look in the box of tapes of concert recordings I’ve participated in. I can’t find the Mozart Requiem. And because I decided two years ago that I was never singing classical music again, I gave away all of my old music, figuring I’d never need it again. I *think* there was a copy of Mozart’s Requiem in there. But now I’m not sure. I checked out YouTube to listen to the Requiem to see if it sounded familiar. It does, but that could just because it’s a famous choral work and I’ve heard it more than once. Who knows, maybe I’ve sung classical, choral music for over twenty years and never performed the Mozart Requiem, but it seems unlikely.

This post feels like it’s spluttering to an end. I want to take a quick nap before heading off to my second performance. My brain is fuzzy from the cold, my nose hurts from blowing it so much today. In spite of all that, this concert will be glorious. Maybe because of all that. Who knows. What I do know is that the moment I step on that stage the rest of the world will drop away and there will be nothing but the music and the conductor and the musicians. It has always been that way for me when I sing. It’s an incredible place to visit.

Do you have a place like that? Where time drops away? There is no future or past, only the present? I love to hear about those places of yours. I know that this also happens to me when I’m quilting. Time just stops.