The ECSW chorus has been a cooperative effort this year. While on paper I am the chorus director, nothing could have been achieved without the participation of the members. All of them did much more than just show up and sing. The performance at the Winter Festival is a perfect illustration.
It began with selecting the music as a group. We chose “Baby it’s Cold Outside” as something that would be fun and different from the type of songs we have done in the past. We also selected “Jingle Bell Dash” because it was seasonal and we’ve performed it before. Finally we added “Dona Nobis Pacem” because of its simple message and its beauty.

I had surgery scheduled for December 6th. I knew I wouldn’t be there the Sunday after my surgery and even the following week was questionable. Glenn and Richard stepped up to be backup chorus directors. On Sunday December 9th, Glenn led the chorus rehearsal. The following week I was able to return. Glenn offered to turn the conducting back to me but I requested that we do it together. Glenn has a great deal more skill at doing this so I was able to learn from him and the chorus was able to make great strides toward being ready for the performance. It was decided that “Dona Nobis Pacem” would be performed at the beginning of the festival while people came into the room. We also had a special guest performer, Mike Sayer, playing the FrenchHorn. The performance came off well but it took the work of every member of the chorus to achieve it.

First we noticed that the French Horn drowned out the singers. As a group we decided that we would begin with just Piano and French Horn while people were entering. I was given the task of letting the musicians know when to stop playing so that we could begin the singing. During rehearsal, we tried a few different ways of performing the round. We finally settled on two groups of four with the men making up one group and the women another. We recruited Bart to join the men so that we had an even number of people in each group. Bart hadn’t rehearsed this with us but he bravely stepped up to make
this work.

Finally, someone suggested that the French Horn and Piano play the piece once more following the singing. We did a rehearsal that way and it was spectacular. This was the way we performed it.
In order to perform this piece there were many decisions to be made. We didn’t have any of this planned prior to the day of the performance. Everyone worked together to figure out what was going to work best and I think that the result was a wonderful rendition of this song. This is how our chorus works. Everyone bring ideas and as a group, we create the performance together. We hope you enjoy the result, and if you would like to join us, just show up for our weekly 9:45 AM rehearsals.

– Jeff Grippe