Time: 0:25 Total: 3:40 Grand total: 18:05
Crew: Altar: Fr T, Fr Deacon V (when I said to him later “I missed you in the night!” he said “I can’t be in two places at once” and we agreed that he wasn’t St Nicholas of Myra) Choir: SSSAAT (someone: “We have no bass!” me: “Then we’ll do without”).
Fr Deacon V was intoning very high, which made me completely unable to give the note for the Great Prokeimenon. Several different people were overly helpy and gave different notes that confused me no end, so I asked Emerita Choirmistress to give a note. After the service we made a deal that when I’m confused, I’ll only take direction from her and from nobody else, mostly to disabuse everybody else (and one person in particular) of the idea that they might have authority over me. (I don’t seek to be the boss; I don’t even particularly like being the boss, I enjoy power over things –including the music– but not over people; the fact is that I am the boss and I can usually pull it off.)
During the Great Prokeimenon I promptly wished that I could clone another instance of me to tell people (one person in particular) that (a) it’s perfectly possible to sing fortissimo without shouting, and (b) we don’t need to slow down at the end of every verse for a dramatic ending: only the last verse even may have a very slight ritenuto, though I prefer a small push of deliberateness to put it in its place.
 After all, five other people are doing that. Two of them are also singing the soprano part, and one of those is a mezzo so it’s actually high for her and you can’t use the pitch as an excuse.
We are not Russians. We are very much not nineteenth-century imperial Russians.
Three people outside the choir and two people inside the choir complimented me on my style of directing. I think I’m extremely deliberate and precise, and I’m always afraid that makes it static and lifeless, but one of the three people outside the choir reassured me that this isn’t the case and that on the contrary it’s bright and understandable.
I knew I could handle the choir when I took it on, but I’m now beginning to suspect that this is something I’m really very good at. I did need the 30 years of apprenticeship: I couldn’t have done this ten or even five years ago.