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327RE: [KWChoir] Troubling question

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  • Maria Foss
    Mar 8, 2006
      I wonder that such things do not happen more often in ANY choir!   I've been involved with choirs enough to see my share of singers with "issues", such as not being able to  carry a tune without others close by singing in one's ear, or singing in tune just fine but with poor vocal quality...
      Being completely tone deaf AND oblivious to the fact - I've never encountered that, and that's a pretty challenging problem.  The irate, unreasonable parental figure as well.  I can't think that it would be possible to handle it any better than you did either... you have my moral support (and a long distance hug too.)
      Here's hoping the incident will not be repeated in a LONG while!
      -----Original Message-----
      From: KWChoir@yahoogroups.com [mailto:KWChoir@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Donald F. Harrington
      Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 1:01 PM
      To: KWChoir@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [KWChoir] Troubling question

      Now that the dust has settled and we've had a chance to glow in the
      warm memories, I'd like to raise a little problem that happened to us
      this year at Estrella.  We advertise that to join us all you need to
      do is be able to carry a tune and keep a beat.

      I'm not sure how we could have best handled it, but I can't believe
      that the situation has not arisen before in the history of the Known
      World Choir.

      We had a lady join us at rehearsal who could not sing.  She sang an
      octave above everybody else and in a different key.  The sound was
      immediately off.  Some of our stronger sopranos gathered near her and
      sang so as to give her guidance, but she could or would not follow.

      I could hear that something was off and I commented during the
      rehearsal that it was happening.  Post-rehearsal, the sopranos came to
      me and identified the lady in question.

      When she arrived at the next rehearsal, before she could enter the
      area, I drew her aside and explained the problem.  I tried to be
      diplomatic and express it in terms of it not being a successful match
      between singer and group, but she was very upset and fled in tears.

      During the rehearsal, I was approached by her Father who wanted to
      know (a) why couldn't anybody sing with us no matter what, (b) who did
      I think I was to say his little girl couldn't sing, and (c) this
      wasn't the end of this.  He later returned with his seneschal.
      Luckily, the Atenveldt Kingdom seneschal is one of our tenors and was
      able to smooth things over with the other officer.  We discussed ways
      of strengthening the language about basic abilities to join the chorus.

      Some of the sopranos wanted to take the lady and work with her.  I
      fretted all evening about how upset she had been and what I could have
      done differently, that I was not willing to harm the choir or its
      performance to accommodate this lady.  Those who know me will know
      that I beat myself up pretty badly over hurting this person's feelings.

      Then came our preview performance (1 tune) at Queen's Tea.  This lady
      was also present at Queen's Tea, signing up to perform solo.  When the
      choir went on stage, she walked up with us (!).  It was not the place
      to cause a scene by publicly removing her.

      Afterwards, she spoke loudly in front of some of the singers that (a)
      she joined us deliberately to prove a point and that (b) "Lazarus was
      an ass".  Her solo performance conclusively demonstrated her
      intonation problems.  The ladies (including one Duchess) who had
      formerly been willing to help her were no longer interested.

      Luckily, she did not show up for the full concert as I would not have
      allowed her to perform.

      So am I just lucky enough to get a sociopath at the second Estrella
      choir?  Or has this sort of problem arisen in the past and people have
      some words of wisdom for me to avoid it in the future?


      Don Harrington
      Lazarus Artifex

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