Sunday, November 22, 2009

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

Once a choir geek, always a choir geek.

What prompted that statement? Believe it or not, the assignment of a watching a movie for my Counseling Skills class. To tie in all the things we've learned about human interaction, we were asked to watch the movie "Ordinary People."

In it, the main character, Conrad, is a member of his high school choir. A couple of rehearsals are shown during the movie to set the scene for his interactions with another character, Jeanine. In the first, they are singing a hymn that is set to Pachelbel's Canon in D.

The second is the focus of my geekiness. It is a piece I performed several times, Handel's "Hallelujah, Amen", the final chorus from the oratorio Judas Maccabeus. It's one of those pieces that the first time our choir director had us perform it (in 9th grade), I sang it as a soprano. Then, two years later, thanks to our new prinicpal's decree that there be NO sacred music performed at all, a compromise of music celebrating Christmas and Hannukah was reached-and another performance for me, this time as a tenor.

Handel was masterful with his oratorios, but this one is not as familiar to the average person as the various choruses from The Messiah. Judas Maccabeus tells in song of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Today, the 8 day celebration of Hannukah is in commemoration of that event, the discovery of a jar of oil that lasted far longer than it should have and the restoration of Jewish worship at the temple of Jerusalem.

What's geeky about that? Well, in the movie, Jeannine tells Conrad that he's an awesome tenor. That probably sits well with the average audience. It would have with me, too, for he IS singing the tenor part in the Pachelbel hymn. BUT, I'd performed this piece many times, singing that Tenor part.

He's singing bass.

You didn't notice, did you? Well, maybe if Joyce has seen this movie, she might have noticed it, too. All I can say about this is: if singing a certain vocal part is used as a plot device in your movie, make sure that the character really sings that part. Otherwise, you'll have geeks like me going to find their sheet music-or seeking it out on You Tube!

(and if you want to hear this for yourself, are a choir geek and have a copy of the movie, it's at 58:27 into the movie.)

As is typical, I've been listening to it off and on since this movie brought it to my attention again:

A little early, but enjoy this for Hannukah!

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