Saturday, July 6, 2013

Reuniting in Manhattan Beach

I have never written anything here about my professional engagements since retirement and am not sure why.  Maybe because I didn't set this blog up until retirement; maybe because I wanted this to be personal not professional.  If they wanted professional they could go to my website. As if anyone cared, anyway.  I gotta admit that I am still embarrassed by the egoism blogs represent and in many ways I still don't know what purpose they might serve.  Then someone tells me to 'blog more,' confusing the hell out of me.

So this one is professional, except I didn't get paid to do this one.  First the food, my goodness: Rob Istad's self-sponsored reception on Thursday night at the hotel after the first rehearsal (booze included!); a fantastic group meal of Greek food on Saturday night after the last rehearsal at Petros restaurant (including margaritas and sangria!); a lineup of fish tacos with all the trimmings after the performance organized by Karen (cash bar, booze not included, but this Silverback Ape didn't have to pay for a single drink!).  Not to mention the many meetings at Grunions bar at all hours; this is a funky neighborhood joint a half block away from the hotel where everyone seemed to know everyone else--the best kind of bar, in other words.

Now imagine 24 singers, one accompanist, one conductor working for 11 hours on Rheinberger Mass for Double Chorus (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo), Martin Mass for Double Chorus (Kyrie, Credo), a Gabrieli double chorus madrigal, Lauridsen Mid-Winter Songs I and IV, Victoria Vere languores nostros, Holst Nunc dimittis, and two fine Trashy pieces stuck into the middle of the program. Then a performance to a big crowd packed into that little Lutheran church that simply didn't know when to quit applauding once they started. And they kept starting. 

I'm talking, of course, about last weekend's USC Chamber Choir Reunion (Dehning Years) that was an event for the ages, at least my ages.  Karen Schrock Simring was the inspiration and ringleader who simply wouldn't take no for an answer; Rob was the on-site organizer who got the church for free, sent copies of my scores to all twenty five people, and took charge of all logistical matters for all four days.  The rehearsals were a triumph: every suggestion I made was accepted and performed immediately.  That's never happened before, really.  And the performance was the best rehearsal to the third power: every move I made was immediately and correctly deciphered.  And the audience bought every second of it.

You'd think that would be enough and the end of the story.  But it ain't. I expected they would love seeing their colleagues and friends again and rehearsing fine music together.  And they did. What I didn't expect was that they wanted to rehearse great music with me, their former conductor and teacher, in front of them; that's the main reason they were there.  That's simple professional respect, though.  But the many expressions of love--there is no other word--of me as a person were utterly unexpected and more gratifying than it is possible to relate here or anywhere else. 

They love me.  Holy cow.

I cannot relate how wonderful that makes me feel. I lack the vocabulary. 


Patricia Colwitz said...

Man I wish we had been there! Sounds like an extraordinary experience for everyone! I'm not surprised they were so happy to see you and perform with you again. You can bring out the best in everyone!

Karen Schrock said...

Mission accomplished!!!!