There’s a strange thing that happens in choirs just as a concert is coming up. Very often, in the session the week before, or even sometimes in the rehearsal on the day of the concert, it appears that everyone in the choir has forgotten what songs they know, which parts they sing, and what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s as if some group amnesia has spread like a virus, as well as knocking the energy out of everyone. Directing the choir in these situations is like climbing uphill through mud and always makes me despair, even though I know it’s just part of the process and everything will (probably) be all right on the night. But it doesn’t stop me from despairing and wishing that I was somewhere else and really worrying if we’re ever going to pull the concert off. In fact, I even worry if people are ever going to learn to sing again at all!
Then the concert arrives and (usually) everything goes swimmingly and we all forget the awful rehearsal the week before. Then, like a dog with a short memory, we start looking forward to the next concert and hope that everything will go smoothly, until that is, we get to the dreaded rehearsal the week before and it all happens again. Then we remember: “Ah, yes, this is what happened last time”. But there is nothing we can do, and we despair again and we plod on again and we pray that it will all turn out fine.
The other strange thing is, if we have a regular weekly session in the week following a concert, loads of people are usually absent. It’s as if everyone has given their all the previous Saturday, and even if it’s now the next Thursday, it’s just too soon to begin to summon the energy needed to sing!