My singing engagements for 2014 started off with two renditions of the New Zealand national anthem, both poles apart in presentation. The first one was at the New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin. I was participating in the games (netball), and when a Dunedin music friend saw I was going to be there, he asked me to join in with his choir to sing the anthem at the Opening Ceremony. We had 16 voices in 4-part harmony, singing an arrangement by NZ composer Anthony Ritchie. The ceremony was held in a big hall and we were seated just in front of the raised stage, but facing the audience. No yawning or random scratching of body parts allowed. Normally everyone sings the anthem but we must have done a good job because the more we sang the less the audience sang and just listened. A victory for choral singing!
And then at the opposite end of the spectrum….I was asked if I would sing the anthem for the Southland Rodeo at the their annual event. They specifically wanted someone who could sing unaccompanied and in tune – apparently they’d had some less than stellar performances in the past. I’m pretty sure my lovely friend Sarah Court would have been perfect for this – horses and singing, two of her favourite things.
They outfitted me with cowboy hat and boots, jeans and checked shirt, handed me a microphone and led me into the arena for the Grand Parade. As we were waiting for the horses carrying the flags to finish cantering in, a horse in the pens just behind and along from us decided it wanted to join the fun and clambered noisily and with much flourishing of sharp hooves over the bars of its pen and into the arena. Was I about to be trampled? I could just see tomorrow’s newspaper headline ‘Horse saves C&W crowd from operatic intruder’. But he was subdued and I duly made my way out to the centre of the arena and belted out the anthem in both languages, as is the custom these days. No-one spat hayseeds at me so I figured I passed muster. Ahem.
Now it’s on to more classically inclined performances, the first one being a duet this weekend at a friend’s wedding. Said friend, my duet partner and I are all long-time choir buddies and the blushing bride requested that we sing before grace and ‘something that will show off your lovely voices’. So a-searching I went for something a) for two sopranos b) unaccompanied and c) appropriate. After discarding a number of options from my musical stash for being too cliched/overblown/inappropriate I consulted with my dear friend Mr G. Oogle and after spending a happy half-hour watching cats do cute things on YouTube I came across this
For 2 sopranos? Check. Unaaccompanied? Can be done so. Appropriate to sing before grace? Hmm, let’s check the translation of ‘Esurientes, in plevit bonis’……ah here it is – ‘He shall feed the hungry’. Clearly a sign from the Universe.