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Long live all maidens

easy and beautiful !

Long live mature women also,

Tender and loveable and full of good labor. 

Gaudeamus Igitur

« Genius and Bliss | Main | Adria's Man »
Monday
Nov302009

One Big family

You’re welcome! Absolutely exhilarating in so many ways!

 To answer your question, we all more or less understand the German. It's expected of singers to be fairly fluent in French and German, Russian ... well maybe not quite. I too love ritual. The lead-up to each concert performance is in itself ritualistic. That's why no matter what the weather or the fatigue level, we make such an effort to be there week after week, year after year. It's like a big family in a way.

 Both the director and his wife were soloists at my parents' funerals. Their children mingled with ours at a time when my girls were still happy to be in frilly dresses, eating gingerbread men at Christmas fundraisers, chasing each other around decorative tables. There are photos taken in the little courtyard at the Heliconian Club in Yorkville where these fundraisers were usually held: innocent sweet faces on precious little ones, now young men and women in the concert circuit and on the stages of New York and European capitals. 

 Of course I was anticipating my intermission meeting with Francis the whole time. The effort of singing, all the ambiguous feelings welling up, seemed ... I felt so flushed. To be expected, probably. I had not seen him for at least fifteen years. But then again, it could have been the pace of the day, the three-hour rehearsal that morning, the driving back and forth ... whatever. 

 But then, suddenly, the unexpected. Monsieur Fourchette brushed off the last flourishes of the opening Prelude on his portative organ. Natalia intoned the Puer Natus Est and the choir began its tutti. It was as if I could physically see my father entering those huge oak doors at the church entrance, as he always did, slipping in quietly, paying his ticket and taking a seat near the back. He would often take a taxi from Union Station, having travelled alone from Hamilton by train, and would find his way to whatever church our choir was performing at. And this continued till he was almost eighty. He's been dead for twenty years. I seemed to catch a faint whiff of his pipe tobacco. Keeping an eye on me.

St. Peter's church is actually the "motherhouse" for the fathers of the Sacred Heart. I was chummy with a group of them in my twenties. Singing in that same church, now, with Bel' Arte felt just a bit strange. I drifted back to those weird and wonderful times: attending Mass, pizza and coke (Cola) parties, guitar jamming sessions with priests! So one of them became my special priest/friend and then my friend/priest/confidante ... no …  actually my confidante/friend/priest  … well, more than that really! I was one of those women who chose the forbidden and felt chosen at the same time. Confusion, guilt and then  ... Librium.

 I was trying not to look too much like the little kid searching for her parents but couldn't resist checking everyone out, pew by pew, face by face: some meditative and pious, some with heads down on their chests (asleep maybe?) and still others off in heaven somewhere. It didn't take long for me to pick Francis out in the third row from the front. He was sitting with Matt and Peter by the centre aisle. I was relieved he hadn't brought his wife (nor any of his children). It would have been far too distracting for me.

Not so sure that was a Casablanca moment you witnessed! More like two older (not yet old) people exchanging warm seasonal greetings, animatedly throwing their hands around, making focused small talk. The cleft in his chin was more pronounced, his teeth more widely spaced now. His once shiny, almost streaked blonde hair seemed a little dulled by time and there was less of it. But the unmistakable Icelandic blue eyes had never changed. I did not dare to look at what had once been a generous bulge and couldn't comment on that, but anyway, they say men just get bigger with age. I'm sure I'll get another crack at it. He was enthralled with the performance and we managed a big hug just before I disappeared into the wings for the second half. We exchanged phone numbers.

Looking forward to the course next week. Koerner Hall is booked. I've never heard the Tallis Scholars live. 

Adria  

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