De-bassed in Westport
8 April, 2013
Today’s blog is by Jim, whose ability to jump between tenor and bass was crucial at our Westport concert!
“This morning, with some bellies still heavy with Pepe’s pizza, we continued our road trip with a short journey on the I-95, heading southwest along the edge of Connecticut (does anyone articulate that second C?) from New Haven to Westport, and the church of Christ and the Holy Trinity. We had been unable to procure SatNav for any of our three vehicles when collecting them in Boston and so, given that none of us had visited Westport before, we hoped our motley combination of maps printed from the internet, iPhone apps, and old-fashioned British self-confidence when exploring new territories – do you have a flag? – would see us to the correct destination. However, we needn’t have worried, as the sight of a huge banner hanging on the front of the church advertising our concert, clearly visible as soon as we turned off the main road, confirmed that we had made it to the right place.
“As we were repeating our Passion and Resurrection programme from Yale, today’s pre-concert rehearsal was planned purely as a tinkering session to remedy any glitches we may have spotted during last night’s performance; unfortunately, Tom’s usually dulcet tones seemed to have deserted him during the night, installing as their replacements an unwelcome cacophony of wheezing and crackling that sounds worryingly like a chest infection. Not the nicest start to the new job for poor Tom! As P&R is a programme that requires our bass section to expand from its usual trio to four voices singing two bass parts (we are a thirteen-strong group on this tour), this development was not ideal but, undeterred, we set about reassigning voice parts during the rehearsal whilst Tom took a vow of silence. We then sang the concert with our usual duodecet line-up, leaving Tom to lead the applause from the audience, prompting only the few eagle-eyed punters to ask why there were thirteen names in the programme, yet only twelve people on stage.
“With our next performance not until Wednesday, recording five pieces for American Public Media’s ‘Performance Today’ radio programme in Minneapolis, the whole group has time for a little R&R, and we all hope that Tom’s voice returns to full health to underpin the group’s sound with his fruity bottom.
“After an enjoyable post-concert reception laid on in the church’s hall, at which some most-excellent wines and cheeses were proffered, we drove the short distance back to our lodgings, where I sat to begin this blog. Having penned thus far, I ventured to the hotel’s bar for light refreshment, where I discovered my colleagues, recently fed and watered at a local Italian restaurant, in a merry mood; I understand from them that the proprietor of this establishment, having discovered their profession, requested two renditions of ‘happy birthday’, for each of which a payment of a bottle of wine was gleefully accepted.
“After three concerts in three cities in forty-eight hours, we are all looking forward to a well-earned rest; mine begins here.”