so i went to this AWESOME concert tonight - Cantus came to campus and sang at Mandel Hall. Cantus is an all male acapella group from Minneapolis/St Paul who started singing together in college and just kept on going...=) they did a great programme and came back for a really cool encore involving african jazz and a clapping game that three yearolds play which took Cantus considerably longer to learn than the three yearolds. =) i had a pretty wonderful seat, third row from the front, right at the side, but i could see everyone of the ten member ensemble. my only beef with the seat i was in was that i was behind the wonderful wonderful basses and couldn't see them, though i could most certainly hear them. mmmm. yummy basses. i love basses. can you tell? there was also a really wonderful tenor [i know, i know, you may never hear me use the words 'wonderful' and 'tenor' in the same sentence ever again] who sang solo for an irish work song [so now i persist in calling him the little irish tenor though he is neither little nor irish] and just had the loveliest brightest smile i've ever seen on a grown man. -amused-
they have great great control - i miss hearing that, and always wind up forgetting how much i miss hearing that until i go to an vocal concert like this one and realise that i haven't heard such perfect control for a long time - especially of the male voices. particularly the tenors, who were inspired, and as all tenors tend to be, completely insane. i remember thinking after the second song that it is true, all tenors are really strange people, as they sang in weird ghostly voices to a strange devil song. ooh! they opened with Daemon Irrepit Callidus which the RJ Chorale did at some point in my singing career with them, and it was really great to hear it again. it's an inspired show opener 'cos it's really showy and technically demanding. they also did Shenandoah and moved me to tears, i loved singing that song with the Raffles Concert Singers two years ago, the first time i heard it it made me cry [and no, not because we were so bad =)]...and another song they did tonight that made me cry was The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald with a guitar and cello accompaniment. now let it be said that the cello is one of the world's most beautiful instruments - i swear it sounded like it was crying, and i was wiping tears away by the end of the song. so KUDOS to Cantus for an amazing night.
i was also sitting in the concert hall wishing i was up on stage again with all my choirmates and singing again, and i wanted to sing so badly i was almost in tears. it still makes me feel hollow inside to sit in the audience at a vocal concert knowing that i may never be onstage, blending my voice with others in harmony ever again. to sing with people like the RJ Chorale, to be conducted by people like Mr Toh [congratulations on Miss Toh!], to just make music with lots of other people and feel like part of something big and beautiful and perfect. i have the kind of voice that is the choral glue - the technical ability to blend in with anyone, and become part of the whole without my individual voice being lost. i heard that tonight, when they were doing the sacred music, and i missed doing that blending, all the work it took to match ten, twelve voices perfectly in colour tone and pitch, so much i hurt inside. it's ridiculous how much i miss doing sacred music. it's something that you never can do on your own, because you need that balance in the bass notes to have the sopranos shine; the balance in the darkness of the altos to temper the madness of the tenor. i miss listening to the other parts as Mr Toh told us to shut up and listen, and imagining what the harmony sounds like, the amazement with which i realised that someone -the person who had arranged/composed the piece we were performing- had heard all this INSIDE HIS HEAD and put it down on paper. i remember thrilling to the sounds of the bass twos hitting the low low notes on Just The Way You Look [go bass twos! you rock!] and Lonesome Road [one of my favourites in the world because of that beautiful low note in the last phrase] -- you can feel them in your bones, especially when they're standing behind you [and by you i mean the soprano section, waaay higher than they will ever go]. what can i say, except that if i could go back and do it all over again, i would -- all the late nights, the exhaustion, the craziness of concert night, the flowers and makeup and shoes and gowns, the bright lights and crowded dressing rooms, the friendship and the laughter -- i'd do it all over again, but somehow i don't think i'll ever have the chance to.
someone revive the Raffles Concert Singers for good, please! i'll be there, first name on the signup sheet, i promise =)