Behind the Scenes: Michael McCord – Tenor, Albany Pro Musica
There are many expectations when performing with an ensemble such as Albany Pro Musica. Some are clearly stated while others, not so much. For instance, a clearly stated expectation: “Be prepared for rehearsal.” If you’re the person whom David Janower singles out while he is emphasizing the importance of practicing, you’re not working hard enough outside of rehearsal.
Other expectations: Be on time. Don’t be distracting. If it’s your night to provide the halftime snack, bring something good. These would be obvious to most people, I think.
Another huge expectation is to perform as well as you are able. This means considerably more than just knowing your notes and rhythms. Even the world’s most talented musicians are incredibly boring if they don’t seem engaged in what they are doing. For the musicians in Albany Pro Musica, this means showing emotion as we sing. To a non-choral singer, this may sound easier than it actually is.
Take Carmina burana for example. My score is over 120 pages long. Not a single word of it is in English. This means I have to be emotive in two languages that I don’t speak.
All three of the bloggers from Albany Pro Musica have spent some time talking about the words to the piece. Let this be evidence enough that they are difficult. But beyond the words being difficult to articulate, I have to know when to be happy, sad, frightened, flirtatious, and angry all while watching the conductor, singing the correct notes and rhythms, and checking Facebook at the same time.
Rehearsals can be tough.
Another consideration: Sometimes the music you are performing is really exciting and fun to sing, despite the words. When Pro Musica performed Verdi’s Requiem with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, I struggled to portray the correct emotion at times. When singing the “Dies Irae,” I stood behind an incredible Orchestra playing incredible music incredibly loud. The smile on my face had everything to do with my surroundings and nothing to do with the “Day of Wrath that will dissolve the world in ashes,” I assure you.
This is the final week before we perform Carmina burana. Having rehearsed since January, it’s almost hard to believe that the experience is coming to an end. But in that thought lays the final and perhaps greatest expectation. Above all else, make music.
When you join us on Saturday night for the performance, you will not be watching a group of 200 musicians merely playing, singing, and conducting. You will be watching 200 musicians do something they truly love doing. You will watch us make music.
Set your expectations high.