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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas concert meltdown

SORRY about the hiatus, folks. Between recuperation from the singing marathon (Fr. Dan Schneider's wake on Thursday night & funeral on Friday morning & two hours rehearsal just prior to the one-hour Christmas concert) and giving talks and confessions at the Korean church in Queens yesterday and doing Mass and class today, I was pooped.

Now having slept most of this rainy Sunday afternoon, I can pick gingerly through the wreckage of the Christmas concert.

It was our worst. (And that's being diplomatic.) Oh, people had a good time and were Christian in their evaluation, but I am under no such etiquettitudinal restraints. (I just made up that word. Feel free to use it.) They certainly got what they paid for.

But let me begin with some positive feedback.

You know how you feel after hearing a flawless performance of Händel's Messiah? Well, it wasn't anything like that.

The new risers did allow the choir to be sitting higher up, so we had a better view of the audience. Unfortunately, that worked both ways.

The solos were exceptional: Fr. Mike Duggan's Mille Cherubini and Ms. Judy Abel (director)'s O Holy Night.

The quasi duet of Sr. Ann Hayden and Fr. Ed Szendrey was most excellent. Ms. Betsey Guest also shone as descant soloist.

The women more than held up their end of the voice ranges.

As for the men, well, we had nine (count'em—9!) men's voices. Yup, there were nine! Well, not always singing the right notes in the right key or at the right time or at all, but I definitely counted nine. All in a row.

The five-piece orchestra was very talented and professional. They saved the evening by covering a multitude of our musical sins. Nothing like a harp, piano, organ, flute and cello to distract people's attention from our many dissonant faux pas.

We could have vastly improved the ending of the concert—by moving it closer to the beginning.

To be balanced, the refreshments were a big hit, as was our perennial Santa Claus (Br. Kevin Dargan) passing out candy so the evening ended on a sweet note.

(But I will forever wonder how I might have written this had I not had a good nap this afternoon.)

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