A Singer in a Choir.

A Singer in a Choir.

       Neil looked at the sheet music with a certain amount of apprehension, squinting at the staves speckled with crochets, quavers, minims and all the other paraphernalia uniting to produce one of Mozart’s finest requiems.

   “I’m nowhere near pitch perfect,” he confided to his neighbour, “trying to decipher all these notes, whilst listening to the accompaniment, reading the verse and hitting top F, is what I call mental gymnastics.”

    His neighbour, Gareth Williams, a veteran of many Welsh choirs, before bringing his questionable musical talents to the colonies, confided to Neil.

    “I stay fairly silent until I get the rhythm and tempo into my head, then I start to let fly.”

     Neil considered this for a moment before thinking to himself; if everyone had Gareth’s attitude then how would the composition ever get started?

    The Choir Conductor interrupted Neil’s thoughts by calling the members together to go through a series of exercises designed to loosen up the throat, this would hopefully put them in the mood to attempt Mozart’s masterpiece.

      After an hour’s pretty fruitless endeavour of trying to capture the maestro’s musical essence, a short break relieved the agony.

     “I love most of Mozart’s music, but he is pretty uncompromising when it comes to Tenor’s,” Neil remarked to one of the Soprano’s, whilst sipping on his lukewarm, tasteless cup of tea.  

     “Fancy expecting you to jump from E to top A, and then trill back down to E again, he’s a masochist,” he finished off, jokingly.  

     Agnes smiled sheepishly back at him, she was new to the choir and didn’t want to express too much of her opinion until she had been accepted into, what could be classed as, quite a clique environment.  

     She had graduated from the Auckland University Music School almost twenty years previously; for a time carving out a useful career by teaching music in Schools.  She hadn’t participated in singing for quite a few years, up to now. In reality she had become quite housebound, due, in the main, to bringing up her two children.   Recently she had felt quite a few unsatisfying emotions nagging at her, mainly concerning the musical talent lying dormant within her being.

      Agnes appreciated Neil’s approach as she felt a little apprehensive, not so much about her musical talents, but fitting in to the milieu of the choir.   She had gone through bouts of depression over the past few months, what with the kids reaching those difficult teenage years, and her husband showing little interest in her.   She had decided to do something purely for herself, and the Regional Choir was a good place to start.

     “How are you finding it?”

Neil’s open ended question caused her to think.

     “Do you mean the choir or Mozart?” was her cautious reply.

     “Both I suppose,” he hadn’t really thought about why he had asked the question, but there was something about her that attracted him, prompting him to continue the dialogue.

     Before she could reply a call sounded for the choristers to return to their places, something special was in store for them.  

     The Conductor was a little disgruntled at the response from his charges in the first session; therefore, he had erected a screen and plugged in the Dolby sound system.   He had hopes of inspiring them by showing, and listening, to a movement from Mozart’s Requiem performed by a famous European choir. 

     An air of anticipation descended among the gathering, reminiscent of a mist settling on a winter’s morning.   That mist started to slowly evaporate as the haunting, melancholy opening notes of Mozart’s Requiem filtered through the atmosphere. Each tone, reflecting the composer’s despondent acceptance of his illness, which would deny him of ever hearing the finished work.  

     Suddenly, without warning, the full blast of the Vienna choir reverberated around the amphitheatre.    Altos’, Sopranos’, Bases’ and Tenors’ merged with the full Orchestra to produce a thunderous opening salvo of sound.

     Neil felt his whole being tingle with delight at the sound of such a glorious crescendo, it served to remind him of why he put up with all the tribulation and effort required to reproduce such splendour.

    He looked across at where the Sopranos were seated, as one, their faces were void of expression as they hypnotically assimilated the awe-inspiring spectacle appearing and resounding about them.  

     Neil eye’s caught Agnes’s secretive glance towards him, for a fleeting moment he detected some hidden allusion between them, before returning to the magnetism of Mozart’s music….