When the email arrived telling us that our choral director had finished hand picking the rosters for this summer’s Tanglewood concerts, I opened it with pretty low expectations. There were only three choral weekends at Tanglewood this year:
- Friday, July 9th: TFC Prelude concert and Mahler’s 2nd (“Resurrection”) Symphony.
- Friday, July 16th: Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Mozart’s Requiem. Then that Saturday, Mahler’s 3rd Symphony (women only).
- August 29-31st: Performances of Poulenc’s Gloria, Bach’s Jesu meine Freude, an appearance for the women in Holst’s The Planets, and everyone’s favorite battleaxe, Beethoven’s 9th.
Slim pickings for “just another bass.” I was hoping to get into yet another performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, which I had done with the chorus last year. After all, it’s the perfect gig — not only one of my favorite pieces but also a pretty light rehearsal schedule, since the chorus sings only for about 10 minutes at the end of the piece. Heck, I could probably sing it tomorrow if I needed to, I only need an hour or two to refresh the German text in my head. The Stravinsky/Mozart program was a repeat from a previous fall season, so I figured they’d stick with the same roster. Maybe I’d get into the third weekend? Shrug.
Well! It turns out that not only was I in Mahler’s 2nd, both me and my wife were asked to jump in for the 2nd weekend as well! With her singing Mahler’s 3rd on Saturday. AND… though I couldn’t swing the rehearsal schedule… I was asked to be part of a 5-day Pops concert series in May.
I can’t tell you how many warm fuzzies this gives a singer. Singing is all about confidence, but it’s easy when you’re a casual singer (i.e., wasn’t your focus in college, not currently taking regular lessons) to think you’re not up to snuff compared to all the “professionals.” But that “he likes me, he really likes me!” moment when you see the roster selections is just the best.
Now… uhhhh… the other reason I was probably chosen. I’m pretty good at memorizing and playing catch up. That’ll be put to the test, because there are literally two rehearsals of the Stravinsky/Mozart program before the Tanglewood residency, since most people on the roster sang it last time around. There’s a 2 hour “catch up” rehearsal for newbies on the roster, and a run-through down at Symphony Hall. For everything else? I’m on my own, with the score and a recording coming in the mail soon. Yikes!