The Creation is Coming
Yes, I probably should put quotation marks around the title of my post, but it’s much more intriguing without the titular punctuation.
Tomorrow night, we are playing Haydn’s “The Creation,” and the oratorio orchestra is joining forces with the choir to create a production complete with some bells-and-whistles multimedia. The orchestra has rehearsed with the core choir and the soloists, but has not yet played with the complete eighty-man choir. Professor B. asked a quartet of strings from the orchestra to come to one of the large choir rehearsals so the singers could have a taste of what it would be like to sing with strings.
When our motley quartet walked into IRH (Instrumental Rehearsal Hall), we happened upon the entire choir standing in three rows forming a half-moon around Professor B. He was pointing and calling on different students. What were they talking about? He was asking them about how they would make their production of “The Creation” known. How could they get people to come to a seemingly irrelevant hour-and-forty-minute classical music concert? How would the hours these people had spend training and rehearsing not go to waste but be shared? The choir began to share their ideas.
“Appeal to the scholarly side,” said one. Yes, someone else agreed. This work challenges philosophical and religious convictions people may have. Another member disputed that idea, saying that it might turn others away if they presented it as too academic. Professor B. said, “That’s okay; while it drives away some, it attracts others. Let’s keep brainstorming. Next.”
“I’m excited about the multimedia,” said another. Some of the choir mhmm-ed and nodded. There will be pictures on the big screen in Ingram and video clips.
“Bouncing off of that,” piped up a soprano, “I think the sheer magnitude of this work will be exciting. Think about this huge choir, plus the orchestra, plus the soloists, plus the multimedia additions. This will be incredible.” More utterances of approval passed throughout the choir, and they were getting excited. One responded, “Yes! My family and my grandma will be coming in, and my family isn’t all that musical, but they will probably be awed by what we’re doing. Also, my grandma is getting older, and this will probably be one of her final trips and it’s going to be special for one of her last travelings to watch me sing.” People, by this time, were whispering how their friends would love this kind of thing.
Professor B. was nodding and approving, and gave a closing remark that I found poignant. He said, “Guys, this is great. We’re talking about all these things and I want you to go and share this with your friends. But remember, the number of people we get to come does not change the value of the music. But spreading the word does make a difference.”
I am thoroughly inspired by the way Vanderbilt’s choir director is inspiring his kids to love the music, love the work aroused by each of their passion for music, and love how he emboldens them to share with non-music people the joy and convictions they have because of this music. Anchor down.