It’s always interesting, contemplating what singing challenges might be around the corner. One of the things I’ve always had a secret desire to sing in public is the Mozart ‘Alleluia’. Two terrors lie within in its relatively short span of time – coloratura and a top C. No terrors for a professional singer, but for a more …ahem… mature, Johnny-come-lately singer, some buttock-clenching moments. I amuse myself on a relatively regular basis singing along with various versions I have on CD, turning them up loud enough so that the soloists drown out my more flagrant failures of technique.
Then a phone call the other day – ‘We’d like you to sing in a concert in March, can you pop over and chat about it with us?’ The organisers are good friends (and Mrs Organiser is an excellent baker), so I arrive with lightness of step and smiling happily at the aroma of freshly-baked muffins. I am handed a copy of the proposed programme. The concert is a special one – Number 100 in the series and therefore all participants have been asked to sing or play items which have been performed in previous concerts. I look down at the page, and leaping out at me is my name and Mozart: Alleluia. I suspect I missed at least a couple of sentences of whatever was next said as I tried to coax my heart-rate down from 220 bpm to something approaching normality.
Part of me was touched by the fact that the organisers just assumed that I am capable of singing it, and singing it well enough to not let the side down. The other part was rapidly calculating the number of days left till concert date. I noted that I was also put down to sing a solo version of Praetorius’ ‘Est ist ein Ros’ entsprungen’ which cheered me up somewhat as I know it is something I can do well – although I will have to learn the German, having only sung it in English.
It’s the coloratura bits of the Alleluia that worry me – I understand the concept, it’s the execution that is somewhat lacking. Nothing like a deadline though to hasten one’s learning!
And on a happy note, I have my next speech therapy session on Tuesday and have arranged to catch up with ‘Hansel’, the lovely Sarah Courtafterwards. I wonder if she will have any coloratura tips for me?