Today was the Cardinal Chorale’s last full day together. It began with the usual breakfast with our opera. One of today’s silly challenges, assigned to every opus, was for each member to set a picture of our associate conductor Beth Vaughn as the lock screen on his or her phone. You can imagine her surprise later in the day when she discovered what we had all done! But with this group, everything is in good fun and we all had a good laugh about it!
Rehearsals were laid back and fun today, as we just had some minor note checking and memorization to do. In sectionals, the men and women worked on their respective featured pieces to perform them for each other on the next full rehearsal. At full rehearsal, the men’s performance of “The Longest Time,” and the women’s rendition of “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” received a large round of applause from both parties. The women’s ballad, “I Shall Not Live in Vain”, made the staff and men shed a few tears of inspiration.
Next, the Chorale dispersed to their various electives, including lessons on singing solos, improv acting, training the ear to recognize pitches, and tuning vowel sounds to match. Our guest, Chad, and staff member Haley, taught the solo class. Having Chad co-teach the solo class definitely made sense, considering we heard how well he can sing solos, like “She Cries”, last night at the Musical Theater Showcase. The improv acting class, taught by Hayden, was pretty fun, as everyone “seized the day” and did their very best acting.
After a healthy dose of lunch, it was time for the only event in which members of the Cardinal Chorale compete against each other – Opus Olympics! Each opus competes against all the others in games involving brains, athletics, and the glory of winning. The Olympics, hosted by Peter, began with each opus having to submit their best guess of which past summer job was held by each staff member. Apparently, Ann was a lifeguard, Ryan was a computer technician, and Haley was a historical actress in Roscoe Village. Next, we had a relay race and a balloon-popping competition, which required a lot of physical activity (though the dry grass ended up popping just about as many balloons as we did). The final event consisted of equating a skewed, but similar song title with the actual title. For example, “Tactfully Acquire and Go” was the alternate title for “Steal Away”, while “Don’t be Scared” meant “Be Not Afraid.” Stay tuned to find out the winner of Opus Olympics!
Back in rehearsal, Mr. Snyder talked about a metaphor involving geese. Geese fly in a “V” shape to get to wherever they are going. One goose leads, however, a new goose will take the lead when the leader gets tired. The geese are all on the same team and they work together to get to their destination. The Cardinal Chorale strives to embody that philosophy, as a team that works hard to develop friendships, music, and message so that we can continue touch lives with our gifts.
We went to Caldwell Hall to rehearse several pieces on the risers together for the first time. A delicious dinner was then provided to us by the amazing cooks at Muskingum. To show our appreciation this evening, we gathered in front of them to sing them “Thank You Very Much”. They expressed how happy they were to have us back this year since we all are so appreciative of their talents.
When we returned to our full rehearsal we listened to several recordings done by past editions of the Chorale, in addition to singing,. The staff and Jacob also gave us a fabulous performance of the tongue-twisting song “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man.
During this time, the Opus Olympics scores were announced. Congratulations to Opus 2 for winning this year!
Taking a short break from singing from our concert list, we broke out into an emotional (and impromptu) version of “I Will Bring You Home”. Since this is our last full day together this summer, the words of this beautiful song were taken to heart by us all.
After shedding a tear or two, Beth suggested the game of “Giants, Wizards, and Elves” to cheer us up. We split into two groups on opposite sides of the room and played what seemed like a large-scale version of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”. We then rehearsed some more and took a long break to prepare our emotions for affirmation time and the Chorale circle. We then rehearsed some more and took a long break to prepare our emotions for affirmation time and the Chorale circle.
We met with our opera in our initial meeting places around the music hall to give each other words of affirmation and love. Many tears were shed, and genuine Chorale hugs were given out freely.
Our concluding Chorale circle was very emotional and moving. We lined the walls of the large rehearsal room and singers and staff expressed their love for each other and how this experience has changed their lives for the better. Several Chorale members spoke up to say that this week has been a highlight of their year. Others mentioned becoming more confident as both singers and people and we saw that the experience has touched many people.
Most of us were crying throughout the time in the circle, especially when it came time to sing the “Song of Farewell” and to say good night. We know it has to, but we don’t want this week to end.
We laughed and sang and cried a little more on our way back to the dorms for our final night’s sleep here at camp. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that this is only the beginning of a new Chorale, and not simply the end of a week of singing together.
As we fall asleep tonight, many of us will remember our favorite memories from the past few days and also wonder what tomorrow’s concert will bring us.