I absolutely love this term. And I hate it too. This is the term when we are really flying as an ensemble, on the back of the concerts we delivered last term; we’re confident, assured, we know the repertoire inside-out and are really enjoying singing it. We’re also experimenting again – you know me, never happy to do something exactly the same way more than once – in changing formation around with each piece we rehearse, looking for different ensemble sounds, looking to hear new things, find new corners to the music. It’s a terrific time.
And yet it’s also the saddest too; this term is very short, and in a few weeks’ time the Choirs will evaporate and be gone. Our last concerts for both the Chamber and Cecilian Choirs are on Friday 13 June and then a final farewell with the Chamber Choir on Sunday 15 June as part of Summer Music Week, and then that’s it; many of the singers will either be graduating or away on placements next year. It’s hard to realise that, in scant weeks, these two ensembles won’t exist any more. It’s a measure of the amount of time each of us has invested in our commitment to singing; regular rehearsals, the white-heat of public performance; from first steps to final flight, ensemble music-making is all about commitment to one another and to a shared endeavour.
This is my fifth year of working at the University, and you’d have thought that I’d have grown accustomed to this situation by now. But it doesn’t get any easier; there’s so much fun to be had amidst the hard work, and so much satisfaction accrued from delivering a polished performance, that bidding farewell to the ensembles, and the singers of whom they are comprised, is difficult. There will, of course, be new faces next year, new singers and new members as the Choirs re-form and begin anew their musical exploration together – always an exciting start to the academic year. But I will miss the incarnation of each Choir; it’s been a large part of my working year, in which my expectations for them have been matched by their whole-hearted commitment.
Change and continuity.