At the all-day rehearsal, I knew I was really in the right place because I almost started crying as movement IV of the Brahms’ Requiem was closing. Wie lieblich sind deine wohnungen, Herr Zebaoth. Maybe it was the awful news from Paris on Friday. Maybe it was a painful longing for comfort, peace, love. Maybe it was confidence and hope. Definitely, part of it was the unity of all the singers dreaming and crying out. How beautiful is Thy dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts. The right place, indeed. My name is Lawrence. I am a first bass. I am new to BCCO this fall. When I was young, I did a lot of music. But for decades I have not made music in a group. I did have a short stint with the choir of Old First Church in San Francisco. And the lovely Arlene Sagan taught me and my kids piano for a while. But, essentially, I worked and provided. I did listen to music, but, to tell the truth, silence was also important to me. Every once in while, though, I’d say to myself I should find a singing group. I think there is a nostalgia for making music with others, and I bet the cave men felt the same way. This is why singing the grand old hymns at my church, Saint Alban’s, was so satisfying for me. To make a long story short, I fell, almost by happenstance, into the BCCO. I have been delighted and inspired. There are three reasons for this — besides the moments of ineffable beauty like the one I described in my first paragraph. The first of these is the strength and hospitality of the bass section. There are some really fine voices there. And I feel comfortable because of the support of the other basses. They let me sing out without shyness. I hope to meet more people outside the bass section as time goes by. I’m sure that the same culture exists in the other sections, too. The second reason is the excellence of the musical direction. Ming and Eric and Colin are professionals — personally engaging, but very serious; humorous, but demanding; thoroughly informed intellectually, but possessed of feeling. And they treat me with respect. That is, they expect me not merely to study, to pay attention, to try to do well, but to do well in fact. I value this very much. The third reason is the music program for the BBCO’s 50th anniversary. At first, I thought the program was a kind of mish-mish. But, really, the program gives me personally the opportunity to sing music that spans almost 300 years — from Worthy Is the Lamb/Amen by Handel to I Think I Shall Praise It by Kurt Erickson. For me, it is an excellent course in choral singing and the nature of different kinds of music. And I am enjoying the challenge. Thank you for welcoming me to the BCCO. I hope I shall be around for a while.
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