If you had found yourself at Neffsville Mennonite Church at 8:30 on Tuesday, July 4th, you would have encountered a crowd of people milling about, enjoying a mixture of “it’s been so long” hugs and “what’s your name” introductions. So began Oasis Chorale Tour 2023. By 9:30 am, your ears would have been flooded by the warbling notes of our opening song – music rehearsal had begun!
Skipping forward through time, if you had peeked in the double doors at 1:30 that afternoon, you would have seen 40 bodies contorted into various alarming or amusing positions. Our first vocal coaching was underway, and Rosemary Lebold had us deconstructing our ideas of good posture and finding new ways to feel our breath in our bodies.
The rest of the afternoon found us working hard at various pieces, continuing to lean into our sound and learning to be CCCMs (Conscientious, Compassionate Choral Musicians). Our fearless leader, Wendell, offered various helpful instructions such as “It’s not going to be bright and smiley, third-grade snotty, and all that.”
By 10:30 am on Wednesday morning, you could have enjoyed many confused looks and stress-relieving chuckles as Deana Swanson taught us movement for various pieces, adding visual art to aural art.
If you had peeked into the dining room shortly before 6:00 pm, you might have noticed rapid preparations happening in hushed tones. Several minutes later, you would have heard the familiar strains of “Happy Birthday” as the entire choir celebrated our favourite Regina Brubaker.
By 11:59 pm, you most likely would have found each choir member tucked in a bed. Some would have arrived there just minutes before, while others were already deep in their REM cycles. (This seems to be somewhat dependent on age, especially as a significant number of the choir members are enjoying their middle-aged years.)
Thursday morning, you would have encountered the choir together again, comparing hours of sleep and the definition of “early to bed.” The rest of the morning involved continuing the process of settling the music in our bodies as the first program was rapidly approaching!
If you had wandered through the Neffsville building at 3:00 pm, you would have found many members flat on their backs in various classrooms and scattered around the sanctuary. This was part of Wendell’s generous but constricting 25-minute “phone-free” break.
Finally, during the last hour of the day, you would have experienced a full run-through of the music in preparation for our first concert tomorrow evening!
See you down the road,