Monday, June 12, 2017

Day 2 Worship Conference 2017: The Calm Before the Storm


Missed Day 1? Read it HERE!

I woke up freaking out this morning, because the light of the sun was streaming in the windows and I thought I had overslept! Turns out it was only 6:15 in the morning. In Wisconsin the sun rises obnoxiously early, and I hadn't reacclimated myself to that fact until this morning.

Most people were pretty groggy after a short night's sleep following travel, rehearsal, and fellowship, but we all shoveled down some breakfast before going to our first rehearsal of the day. This was a full day's worth of practice - morning, afternoon, and evening - and included two rehearsals in our performing space: the Siebert Chapel. I made sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Dale Witte with an interesting way to make sure
we all can see him!
In the morning we covered some of the pieces we hadn't done the night before - most of those were just piano and choir. One piece - "I Will Rise," from Chris Tomlin's repertoire, required us to put a little more of a contemporary swing to it. Dr. Moldenhauer informed us, "You are very good Lutherans. Can you please be Baptists?"

In our rehearsal of J.S. Bach's "Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott - BWV 80" Dale Witte had us chant our parts instead of singing them, but we did them in the tempo he wants to do in the concert. My little brother, who was on a break from instrumental practice, just so happened to stop by at that time and commented that it sounded like a "cultic ritual."

After lunch we met on the risers in the chapel for the first time. The conductors have two positions: one close to the choir, and one that is surrounded by the orchestra that is also playing in the service. The distance between the orchestra podium and the choir is rather great, and the piece of advice I heard most frequently - and therefore picked up quickly - was "watch the baton with your eyes, don't listen with your ears." The choir was not curved, so hearing the men's parts is almost impossible. If we wait to hear them, then we are already behind!

We wrapped up the afternoon session and had three hours to chill before our big rehearsal with the orchestra at 7. I spent that time talking and eating. All of the times I was in the cafeteria were so gloriously calm - I am not looking forward to tomorrow night's madness once 800 more people show up.

Speaking of storms, the weather, which had peaked in the upper 80s, had suddenly dipped in the afternoon. Clouds were also starting to form, and I was surprised to see a giant swath of rain and severe weather descending upon Wisconsin! Luckily the worst of it didn't hit where we are, though the clouds did look pretty nasty during the evening activity.

We are singing four pieces with the full orchestra, and we practiced all of them tonight. We actually did the Bach piece first, and it went very well! The piece is incredibly fast, so trying to sound the correct German is pretty impossible. (Sorry, my German relatives!) We roll through it and just try to make sure that we end up in the right place.

My mom mentioned to me, "Nothing beats singing in a choir with a full orchestra." I agree with her somewhat, but I think the best place to be is on the conductor's podium directing a full orchestra and choir!

The pieces that we did are a lot of fun to do, and I'm having a good time singing stuff that is usually too hard for my choirs to do back home.

As usual, the day ended with snacks and fellowship. I sat with some different people this time, and ended up sitting right by several of the heads of the Commission on Worship! It was great sitting and conversing with all sorts of people who have connections with the WELS in some way.

Tomorrow the Worship Conference officially begins, and I am going to be seeing a lot more familiar faces! Though the days of relative calm are nice, it's always wonderful to start the real deal!

BINGO Card update: 6 new spaces filled - 14 total...but still no BINGO. Getting close!

Read about Day 3 HERE!

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