". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Evan Goes to Children's Choir

Evan joined the after school children's choir (Schola Cantorum) a few weeks ago. It was a momentous occasion, not only because children's choir is a new experience for him, but because he was extremely nervous about the prospect. Oddly enough, my extroverted child who has no fear of playing for a piano recital had a lot of fears about being in children's choir. He was worried that he wouldn't know people. He was worried that he wouldn't know what to do. It was little comfort to him that his father is the director of the choir and his mother the accompanist or that he would be assigned a choir "buddy" to assist him as he learned. During the weeks leading up to his first rehearsal, he had several crying spells. Realizing that he was sincerely panicked about the prospect and not just trying to be difficult, we told him that he could start by observing and would not have to join until he was ready.

By week two he was ready. :-) Below are a few photos I took, not at his second rehearsal, but at his third. As you can see, he has totally bought in to the concept now. (The kid that loves to show off on the piano is still a little worried about having to wear a choir robe and having the congregation look at him when the choir sings. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I find it odd that he is so shy about singing for the congregation. But then I think perhaps it is a reflection of the seriousness with which he approaches the liturgy, and that is kind of cool.)

Evan is in navy, center of front row. And by the way, this was a low attendance week. Our children's choir numbers seem to wax and wane over the years, and we are in a slightly lower year, but this is not the full group.


Susan said...

I'm confused. Those last two photos look like they're doing calisthenics in the chancel.

Hannah said...

Susan, I remember those from my days in Schola. :) They are indeed calisthenics, though usually we did them while standing just in front of our choir chairs.

"Fold in the middle,
Sag down low,
Wiggle all your muscles loose,
So, so, so.
Stand up tall,
Lift your head toward the ceiling.
You should get a limber,
kinda bouncy kinda feeling.
Expand when you breathe,
All the way around!
Keep your shoulders down,
Now sing a good sound."

Cheryl said...

Hannah, you forgot the most important part! "LAAAAAAA!:-)

Susan, it's a posture exercise that Phillip uses from time to time. There are movements to go with the words Hannah gave above. Phillip had the children move from their seats to in front of the chancel so they could spread out and have space. I think he probably also had the ulterior motive of just letting young, restless bodies move a little and have a change of scenery for a few minutes. He is a master of pacing, switching gears frequently during a rehearsal so as to keep young minds engaged.

I can't believe that when we came to Bethany Hannah was one of those little kids and now she's a grown up lady!

Hannah, on a side note, this morning Evan told me, "Mommy, you're one of my favorite women." I was, of course, very pleased to hear that. He went on to add that actually I was his very favorite. I asked him who his other favorite women were. You were next on the list. :-D

Cheryl said...

What is it with me and closing quotation marks these days?

Phillip said...

Wow Hannah, that's awesome you remembered that little rhyme! Thanks for chiming in - it affirms for me the power of that exercise.

Regarding the Schola's size this year, at first I was disappointed to have 11 kids - especially after having 26 last year. But the lower number allowed me to bring in Evan and two other 2nd-graders because the smaller group allows me to pace things more appropriately and because it is easier to address individual needs in a smaller group. And, with the younger group this year, there are more individual needs!

That said, I was pleased to note that when we sang for the first time this year, the 11 who were there that Sunday produced as much, if not more, than a day school class of 20-24 4th graders. These kids really love to sing and are a joy to teach each week!

We're going to do great things. I'm so glad Evan is fitting right in. :)

Hannah said...

Cheryl, yes, I did. :-) As I recall, we were more often than not on the same pitch/mental wavelength. But now I feel old. . .

Happy to know that I am still on Evan's Top 2 list!

Cantor, I report from PT school that choir posture = "good" posture per my orthopedics professor.

Glenda said...

That makes me remember the song our choir director had us sing before practice in my 4th-5th-6th grade years.

Sit up straight, in an eager way,
Sing doe very low, This is also doe.
Stand up please, and flex your knees.
Shoulders are down, pretend you wear a crown.
Every vowel sound, must be tall and round.
Consonants are clipped, and some are also sung.
Relax, sit down.

Ask Susan Teske if she remembers me singing it for her at the Mommapalooza. :-)

Btw, glad Evan got over his fear! happy singing!

Cheryl said...

I will ask her! I'm sure Phillip would love to add that one to his bag of tricks!