Friday, January 21, 2011

My First Choirs

Miss Sells asked me to start and to direct her Friendship Corner Choir in 1958, since I had had experience earlier in directing a high school chorus. I took the challenge without knowing how much was involved. It was a typical case of not knowing enough and therefore having no fear! This choir sang every Sunday night at Friendship Corner, before the sermon and after the group singing for the first half an hour. For many of the choir members, this was their first time ever to sing in four parts. We had a lot to learn and we certainly learned a great deal in the next four years. I was truly quite busy with church related activities every Sunday since I also sang myself in another choir! Usually I rushed first to Truth Lutheran Church for half an hour choir rehearsal, which Mr. Gao directed. Mr. Gao was an outstanding director. I learned a lot about music from him rather than from music classes in school. Besides singing every Sunday service, the Truth Lutheran Church choir had several formal concerts every year, including singing the complete Christmas part of Handel's Messiah. That was also the time when I learned to sing the tenor solo parts in the Messiah as well. Every Sunday evening, I would arrive at Friendship Corner about half an hour before seven pm to rehearse with the choir I directed. Of course, we did some special concerts as well. Usually Beatrice Yin was the accompanist. On special occasions, Mrs. Woodberry would come to help. She was a quiet, soft-spoken lady and a superb piano player. Both choirs rehearsed once a week. When did I have time to do any other things?

The picture below was taken during the concert given by the choir I directed. I usually sat down to direct in the small hall we used for students meetings.

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