I sing in a community choir in Brooklyn. Over the past 4 years, the membership cost of the choir has doubled and the school we are associated with has shortened the number of our performances. This fall we went 3 weeks with inadequate light in our rehearsal room before they changed the lightbulbs and the staff was annoyed that we even asked to have the bulbs changed.
We always have a winter concert in January or February, and that means having rehearsal on MLK Day, an observed holiday in NYC. We also have a summer concert that happens right after Memorial Day and we have to rehearse on Memorial Day.
Everyone accepts it and comes into rehearsal on the holiday but it angers me. I work 45 hours a week and I relish all of the extra time off I can get my hands on. A few times, I have skipped holiday rehearsals but we are so behind this semester that I have to go. Catholic guilt.
The school is closed on holidays so we have to arrive within a 10-minute time frame so we can get into the building. This past Memorial Day, one of my fellow altos was late and had to throw a rock at the window to alert us to come and let her in, and almost broke the window. With this group, it’s always an adventure.
I finally spoke up this year about holiday rehearsals, but I was shot down. “We are generally behind on our repertoire and need the rehearsal.”
Which is 100% true.
We waste a great deal of time in rehearsal because choir members constantly talk over our conductor and emotions run high when different sections yell at one another over glaring musical mistakes. In addition, we do not appropriately plan and utilize our 150 minutes we have together every week, so we fall behind season after season. It’s maddening.
So, I will begrudgingly go to rehearsal tonight.
Hopefully, the lights are on and hopefully, I will make the right decision when it’s time to sign up again this fall. I need to break my cycle of choral madness.