27 May 2008

...Are Longing to Stray

Only an artist who is profoundly steeped in the sensus Ecclesiae can attempt to perceive and express in melody the truth of the Mystery that is celebrated in the Liturgy.
~ John Paul II


This past weekend I attended the 20th Anniversary of Classical Singer magazine in New York City. The convention was incredible ~ I took copious notes and learned much from the likes of opera great Sherill Milnes and several judges and coaches from the Met. I love opera, but it is not the style of music I sing. The wisdom and performance tips I learned, however, apply to almost all singers, whatever genre their talent falls under. Many thanks to my dear friend and soul sister Imelda Franklin Bogue for making it all possible! :-)

On Saturday evening, I headed from Brooklyn over to Manhattan’s east side. The Church of Notre Dame is a beautiful piece of architecture modeled after the Church of St. Louis in Paris and located not far from Columbia University and under the care of the Polish Province of the Dominicans. As I mentioned previously, Mr. F is a member of the choir there and they performed a concert in honor of Mary, the Mother of God. The church itself is a wonderful space for a concert of early sacred music. The soaring ceiling over the nave made the acoustics something every singer dreams of.
As I sat in the pew waiting for the concert to begin, I confess I felt a tad uncomfortable. Turning off the critical musician’s ear is possible, but it is neither easy nor is it often done. This makes listening to a friend’s performance a virtual minefield. One wonders whether honesty in such cases truly is the best policy!

Luckily, I have never been in such a position and Saturday night was no exception. Any reservations I may have had were instantly swept away from the first note to the last. I was completely taken in and won over by the masterful blend and balance of this small ensemble. Closing my eyes a couple of times to “drink it in with my spirit,” I thought I was listening to a small group from the Tallis Scholars! I asked Mr. F later if any of the members were professionally trained and he told me that the baritone was currently studying music at Columbia, but the rest are all ordinary professionals with no music training. I was impressed anew with the purity and strength of their sound. If you are in New York and would like to hear them, they sing at the 11am Mass on Sundays. They are on break for the summer but will return in the fall.
Bravo Mr. F and the rest of the Choir of the Church of Notre Dame! I hope to hear more of this lovely choir in the future.

Oremuc pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
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