“He, who every morning plans the transactions of the day, and follows that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through a labyrinth of the most busy life.” Victor Hugo
NOTE: I wrote this piece a few years ago and it hasn’t been appropriate to run it again until now. Most of us are almost back to “normal” so this is for all of you who are able to do what you do and also for those who will be able to do what you do SOON! MLGA
I am sure you are busy. In fact, I know you are busy this week. This week, Holy Week is the distillation of all we as choral professionals do, packed into seven days. A friend of mine in grad school, who used to sing with the professional choir at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, told me she and her fellow choristers called this “H**L Week.” At the end of it on Easter Sunday, they came out of it bleary eyed, craving chocolate and wanting to sleep for 24 hours. Most church musicians can relate to this and even if you are not a church musician, you can relate.
Whether you are singing, playing or conducting this week, you are busy. But this is just the showy part of the worship services, lined up one after another during Holy Week, the real work took place months ago. I explain to my civilian friends and family, being a choral conductor means steady planning for months, then intense busyness, then nothing. And repeat. It may seem to my mother-in-law I don’t work during the summer but it’s my most productive time. And my planning is probably more important than my actual doing.
This week, all your plans are coming to fruition. Everything you’ve been working on for months is finally coming together. There is a light at the end tunnel, along with the Easter Lilies. You are almost there with only a couple of rehearsals left.
Remember to jot down, when you have a minute, what works and what doesn’t this week, so you’ll be a bit ahead for next year. Remember to eat properly and get enough sleep (if you can) so you can get through the whole week and not crash at the end. Remember to participate in, as well as observe your beautifully planned Tenebrae service and feel the wonder of it all. Remember to guide your choirs and the other musicians through the last part of their Lenten journey. Remember to remember what this feels like; a wonderfully planned and perfectly executed Holy Week and even if you don’t think it is, someone will, so take the compliment!
We are almost there, almost. Take a break, take a nap and then buckle down for these last few days. The brass players are ready, the organ and piano are tuned, your choirs seem prepared, and everything is in place. I can smell the Easter Lilies……what you are waiting for…let’s do this!