Monday, December 14, 2009

Messiah Sing-a-Long

Split fingernails reward me for knocking pianos out of tune. I need to call David, the trusty string bender with two brand-new hips and more surgeries on the way. The cyborg is a reality today.

My current barrier to more creative writing has been preparing for a Messiah Sing-a-Long at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 20, Oxford Presbyterian Church. When the church-meister asked me to play, my head bobbed no and my lips offered yes. I generally don’t care for piano transcriptions of orchestra scores because they present a mountain of effort for what ultimately becomes a disappointing substitute for several dozen instruments. Would you rather hear a piano accompaniment or lots of strings (violins, violas, cellos, double-basses) and cool sounds like oboes, flutes, trumpets and timpani? The more likely question is, would you rather hear something or nothing? Call a pianist.

If you sing in a chorus that practices with a keyboard player, try to imagine what it’s like to work hard, week after week, and then disappear for the performance – or have to prepare an entirely different continuo part for an organ or harpsichord.

“Kind of like an understudy,” says Virginia, "lots of work and no one notices."

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