One of the joys of being in a giant community choir where there are women singing tenor and even bass (no kidding) is that you get to see this little woman with short grey hair sitting next to the guy who is surely just a college kid, singing the tenor part together semester after semester. She sits and dangles her legs, looking up at him, chatting, and he is smiling back at her. It tries very hard to appear mundane, but I find it a pretty unique sight.
The director is thoroughly American, but I am told he has German roots. This is easy to believe. Every rehearsal, he starts looking at the clock on the wall several seconds before the start time. Just as the second hand reaches twelve, he smiles and says, “Let’s stand up and stretch.” He does this every -single- time, without fail. And every once in a while, in the middle of a rehearsal he will look at the time and remark, “This is good guys, we are three minutes ahead of schedule.” I wonder if I am the only one to find that hilarious, with my very casual sense of punctuality and discipline. But yeah, there’s definitely some German blood in there. (Stereotypes? Us? Never!)
The problem with certain giant community choirs is that they only sing religious music. (I have never come across a choir that only sings secular music. It seems that if a choir is cool with singing secular music, they are also cool with the religious stuff.) This means that one may sing many happy-making pieces over the course of a lifetime, but may totally miss out on others. If we are talking about missing out on Carmina Burana this is not a problem — I have no overwhelming desire to repeat that particular singing experience anyway. But if we are talking about, say, Polovtsian Dances, then, well, we just might have a problem.