I made it to the Eastside Sing last night, where we did a quick two-hour unrehearsed run-through of the Verdi Requiem. Because my old chorus, the Cascadian Chorale, was one of the co-sponsoring groups, I also finally got my copy of the group’s CD, Premiere. Both proved to be memorable musical experiences.
The last time I sang the Verdi was with the Cathedral Choral Society in Washington, DC, in the mid-to-late 90s. There we had full orchestra, a 150-voice choir, and severely strained vocal cords—at least on my part. I was still learning how to use my voice, and four seasons singing in the highly resonant acoustic of Washington National Cathedral had grown my volume but not my control—meaning that by the time a concert rolled around I had usually taken my voice right to the edge. Last night, by contrast, felt wonderfully relaxed and I was nailing high B-flats without any problems. The difference, I think, is due to continued practice with the Cheeselords, groups in graduate school, the UPC choir, and especially with the Cascadian Chorale, whose music staff, Phillip Tschopp and Christina Siemens, taught me as much vocal technique in a single season as I had learned in the previous eight years of singing after college.
In addition to the vocal sensations, the singing last night was just fun. It was good to see some Cascadian folks again, including some soloists we had worked with before, and to sing next to Norman and Matthew.
I listened to the CD last night and this morning, and was greatly impressed. I think the long hours of rehearsal and recording really paid off. Technically the vocal work is hard to critique—maybe a little hard to hear some consonants, though that may be due to mic placement and the resonant acoustics in which we recorded. Aesthetically the sound is outstanding. I’m looking forward to picking up some additional copies to share with my family.