Monday, February 10, 2014

Ecce - EEEK!

For those of you not conversant with liturgical music OR "Church Latin" - this is in reference to our newest piece, which our lovely choirmaster said we could "just do one day."

Winter vista
He gave it to us one weekend and alluded to how we could do it the NEXT weekend, except for now, I'm the only alto that shows up with any consistency. I wasn't going to be at church yesterday (more on that later) and so he said he'd wait a bit.

In the meantime, Hubby got the piece in Sibelius, since I can't play piano and I needed to learn this thing PRONTO.

Oy. Oh. My. God. Good. Grief. Yiiiiiiiiiiiiikes!!

First, there's no apparent YouTube version of this particular arrangement of that venerable motet Ecce Panis Angelorum (translation: Bread of the Holy Spirit). We have Gregorian Chant and another version (God knows whose) but nothing by James H. Rogers. This piece is so old that Tom was able to get it free from the Library of Congress. Yes, THE Library of Congress will provide you with music out of copyright and, appparently, ancient. 

Around about measure 14, the alto part starts, fairly innocent and, I admit, kinda boring. We hang out on the G for a while. Then it gets interesting because we follow the baritones. The first hint of "issue" is around measure 23. I have to hit a B. A LOW, low B. Mind you, I'm still mostly soprano and my lowest audible note is usually middle-C. This is the note below middle-C. So we start "in the basement" with this particular phrase, and round about measure 28, we go from a G (above middle-C) to a quick rest, to an E... the E above middle-C. Almost a one-octave jump UP the scale. And there's no sliding - you've gotta nail the G, breathe and then crank on that batch of Es - there are 6 of 'em right in a row, then after #6, in the same measure, you go to the low E (still above middle-C). 

Whew. I've run it through a couple of times, both "cold" and "warmed-up" after a couple of rounds of Lacrimosa - which, believe me, is quite the warm-up. I squeaked like a 4th grader with his first clarinet when I tried to grab that E note. 

The only thing I can think of is to try to, at that point, switch to my lower register and see if that works. But I still have that mid-measure switcheroo to the higher register from the higher E to the lower E. 

Oh, and here's fun. This is the verse: In figuris praesignatur, praesignatur. Cum Isaac immolatur.  In "praesignatur" imagine the a and e tied together; I can't figure it out in Blogger and my brain is tired trying to wrap itself around this piece of music. 

Is this penance? I'd be less freaked out if there was another alto. And I feel for Hubby. Tom is the "other tenor" but if it's a difficult piece, he's playing and letting Hubby carry the tenor load. And the tenor part is up in the rafters a bit, too. 

Come to think of it, I could probably "fake" it since at that point, the soprano line is the same as the alto line. And the sopranos are a loud bunch. They vastly outnumber me, even when Roberta joins me (she's an opera singer, so her "alto" is a bit more florid than mine). There are 4 of them to 1 of me. Four LOUD women. Sweethearts, but loud nonetheless. 

It'll all happen. It always does. But sometimes not before scaring the crap out of me.

Did I mention that I haven't even STARTED on the Exultet for Easter? Well, I've at least got till mid-April on that. 


Knee-high to a short person
So this weekend, it got up to my knees. I helped shovel the front sidewalk, and I knocked some snow off the various feeders. I have to take the big camera outside to get decent shots. My neighbor has some interesting icicles on the house. At least with the big camera, I can get in tight without violating his privacy. 

We have at this moment, beautiful sunshine. The snow sparkles like diamonds in its piles. It's gorgeous. And 8*F with a "feels like" of -4*F. It should be clear over the next week or so, and might actually "warm up" to the 30s if we're lucky.

Break out the wool socks and Birkenstock sandals!! 

I'm still cool with winter (did ya see that pun there???) but I dug out a picture and put it on my desk. It's one Hubby took of a Swallowtail butterfly (I think) on a lupine. It's very beautiful, as are 99.9999% of his pictures, and it's just sitting on my desk reminding me that, yes, spring will be here, and you'll see me crabbing about the heat and humidity.

Speaking of which, I have to check the guitars. The Seagulls are in cases, but the Sigma isn't. There's probably enough humidity in the house, though I wish it was a tad bit more. Gotta fill the in-case humidifiers and figure out how to keep the Sigma from any damage,though I doubt it'll be harmed. It's not on top of a heat vent, and it's old. I mean, close to 40 years old if it's a day, and often, older guitars weather this lack of humidity better just because the wood is already more dried out than the newer ones.

That's on my list for Tuesday. Along with dropping "pee-pads" off to my friend Deb in Lab Rescue, remembering to grab Dead Brother's old cell phones for the domestic violence program, and grabbing the bag of archive materials to deliver to my Zonta meeting. Oh, and the check for the fundraiser. 

So much for an "easy" day off... 

The Shower...

Cupcakes for shower
Pardon the upcoming rant, but I just can't hold it in any longer. First, I did end up doing the cupcakes for the shower, which was totally NBD (no big deal) because I can do 36 cupcakes standing on my head. In a blizzard. 

I got the couple a cake plate that "does tricks." It's Gorham crystal, and no, it's not fussy; check out the link. It turns from a cake plate to a punch bowl, and then if you just use the bottom portion, it's a chip and dip set-up.

At the last minute, the shower location was switched. The original restaurant had a sewer blow-out. Urgh.... So everyone was contacted and we all went off to the other location. We had to park street-side, and clamber over drifts, but that was ok, I guess. My niece helped haul in stuff, and she and my sister rode with me. Our plan had always been to ride together because the parking at the original restaurant was miniscule. 

We got in, said hi to my SIL, her sister, and various guests that we knew. Made excuses for my mom -- by the way, it turns out she's got a sinus infection and upper respiratory infection. Which I told  her she probably had about 3 days ago, but who listens to me??

And we sat. And sat. And sat. My cousin texted the bride, and comes back to report "she's partying with her bridesmaids." What????????????

Finally, she strolls in with nary a word of apology and waltzes up to the head table as if it's perfectly normal to be ONE HOUR LATE for your own shower. Chattering away with her buds as if they were out on a girl's excursion. 

My niece tried, prior to the bride's appearance to make excuses, but after she saw how she came in, the conclusion was, "Yeah, that's just ignorant..."

I don't know how it's done in your family, but in ours, the bride would, when opening gifts, say, "Ok, this is from Aunt Nancy; oh, what a nice... [insert name of present here]" as she opened the gifts. She did that, but sotto voce -- nobody heard her except her 2 bridesmaids on either side. She did pose with each gift. 

And then the gift-opening was done. My nephew made the "thanks for coming, here's the wedding info" speech. And the bride never moved off her chair to come around to the 30 people who had waited patiently for her arrival in the first place to say hello, or anything. 

I don't care what year it is. Manners are manners. And she has none. 

My aunt (mom's sister) has early Alzheimer's and it's always dicey when she goes out. Yesterday was one of her good days. She said to my sister and me: "Wow - it's a good thing your mom WASN'T here - she'd have blown a gasket." 



Worked a few more repeats of the Nephew Afghan. Didn't do anything on the Teal Sock #2 or even look at another project. 

I just want the afghan over. I figure if I can do at least 2 repeats a night (4 rows per repeat, so 8 rows a night), I should have it done in about a week. At the latest, I want it done by the end of February and I should make that deadline. 
Male Cardinal

Random Picture...

So I put a "winter vista" up at the top of the post; that's outside my office. I am anxious for the warm-up later this week - I don't work on Saturday, though I have a yoga seminar that afternoon. Maybe I can drag Hubby out with the snow shoes if it doesn't all melt to mud. 

This is out in my front yard. It's my FB picture, and one of my friends described this little guy as a "bright red Hershey's Kiss with a tail." He was sitting and sunning in the -30* temps, eating his seeds. He was a cutie - I have a whole series of him on the platform feeder and on the ground --- er, snow. 

Cardinals are gorgeous - male or female. They're very fun to watch and their chirp is distinctive and melodic. 

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