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Messiah – kickin’ my tail

Yeah, I said it. Funny thing is, I’m talking about two things, but both are kickin’ my tail. First is Handel’s Messiah. You know, the one with the infamous “Hallelujah Chorus.” The community chorus Me and a few others began a few years ago here in Elberton decided to do Handel’s Messiah this Christmas. It had not been done here since the early 90s so we felt like we needed to do it again.

Now, as the conductor of this group, it’s my job to prepare the group for the performance…not just wave my arms the day of. We’ve got 17 rehearsals to prepare 15 separate choruses – some short, like “Surely He has borne our griefs and our sorrows.” Others are more familiar to this group – like the “Hallelujah”.

I counted up today – after spending 4 hours in study for tonight’s rehearsal, plus 2 hours of rehearsal (1.5 actual rehearsing, plus time before and after answering questions and what-not) – that I spent about 6 hours today on Messiah stuff. If I add that up over 17 rehearsals…that’s about 102 hours – almost 3 full weeks of a full-time job. And this is just in prep for the choruses…and those are the easy parts to conduct. The hard parts to conduct are the recitatives and arias. And I won’t get to actually conduct them until the week of the performance…since we are hiring professional orchestra players and vocal soloists.

So, this Messiah is kickin’ my tail. But the other one is too…my Messiah. I’m really being challenged at every turn with, “Am I really living out what I believe?” I want to be…but am I? I’m trying to get on new program of regular Bible study and prayer. I feel like my sporadic, varied times of this isn’t working to help me grow. So I appreciate your prayers in this. Beyond that, I’ve been challenged in the last few weeks with the thought of our baby coming soon – how in the world do I raise a Godly child? All I’ve heard is that my example is the number one influencer…and I need to be a better example.

I’ve had as my “life verse” for as long as I can remember Psalm 19:14 which says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Am I pleasing to Him…maybe not, but I’m trying harder now.

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One Response

  1. Funny you should talk about the Messiah kicking your tail. I’ve felt the same way, on both counts. I’ve always played from the vocal score, never the organ part. The thing is, I’ve got this ongoing battle inside me about what I’m doing with Messiah (the oratorio). While the Messiah (Christ) is telling me to be a team player and I am firmly convinced He is using you to keep my ego in check (maybe more on that point later), I want so badly to be playing on the entire thing I can hardly stand it sometimes. But it’s like this: the continuo parts are much easier, but you get to play on everything; the organ part is much harder, but you only play on the choruses (and I already know all of those recitatives and arias). See the struggle for me? In my mind, not playing equates with people thinking I’m not good enough – the same old story. It’s like, OK I’ve said I struggle with wanting to be the main music all the time on everything, and I claim to be trying to submit. Is this the test? And even more important, can I pass it?

    Wow, I think I bared my soul more than I intended to. Any thoughts or comments?

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