The big event took place on January 26, 2014 at Convocation Hall on the University of Alberta Campus. The men were in their black tuxedo’s and the women and orchestra were asked to wear black. We, the choir, convened with the orchestra around 6 PM to do a final rehearsal – it was sounding pretty good and I think Angela was pleased with the effect. We struck the stage and cleared the orchestra setting leaving just the risers the choir would start the recital on and made our way down to the dressing rooms under the stage.
My wife was with us for this, but she was practicing her bagpipe chanter in the student lounge while we rehearsed. As we were getting ready for the recital we were looking over the music and commenting on how the Ngana piece seemed to go very well at the last rehearsal.
Time for the concert to begin. We had rehearsed – a little – the entrances and exits from the stage, now it was time for the real thing. Off we went to a rousing reception from the audience – so far so good!
Angela arrived, made a couple of quick comments and we were into the concert:
- Hosanna To The Son Of David – Thomas Weelkes
- Im Advent – Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
- Weihnachten – Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
- Am Neujahrstage – Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
- Am Charfreitage – Felix Mendelsshon Bartholdy
- Missa Sancti Nicolai – Joseph Haydn
- La blanche neige – Francis Poulenc
- Ah! mon beau laboureur – Francis Poulenc
- Wedding Song from Poniky – Bela Bartok
- Song of the Hayharvesters from Hiadel – Bela Bartok
- Dancing Song from Medzibrod – Bela Bartok
- Dancing Song from Poniky – Bela Bartok
- Tabula Rasa – Don Macdonald
- Ngana – Stephen Leek
Hosanna to the son of David was our first piece and it went well. Then we were into the Mendelssohn which calmed everyone down and, I think, was performed well. We then left the stage while it was reset with the orchestra, which took a few minutes. After the musicians were set we came back on stage to prepare for the Missa. We were split by the orchestra and were getting ready when Angela came back out and started the piece.
As I was right behind the organ it took only a little while to notice that Grace was playing, but nothing was coming out – I looked at her power cords and followed it with my eyes to see that one of the violinists had the cord wrapped around the leg of her chair – and may have unplugged it by sitting down. OOOps. She continued to try and pull levers and push buttons but to no avail – it was silent. As we finished the Kyrie she tried to get Angela’s attention and did, but I am not sure what message Angela may have read in Grace’s eyes as they did not really speak.
Nevertheless, Angela made a decision to charge ahead without the organ at that point. We continued with the Missa and in spite of the organ part missing it did sound pretty good, the soloists were very good and carried off their parts extremely well!
Following the Missa we had our intermission – I went right down to the dressing rooms so did not hear what if any conversations were had with the orchestra regarding the organ.
We came back up for the second half, in our original starting positions and did the Poulenc pieces followed by the Bartok and then Tabula Rasa and the bane of our existence to that point Ngana. I think we actually surprised ourselves by how well it did turn out.
We came we practiced, we sang! Now we are done – drat!
Angela put on quite a nice spread after the concert was over many people stayed – I asked and she stated that she had passed – which was nice to hear.
Hey, you can’t say that live concerts are boring – now can you?