Hello from Cleveland, Ohio! I’m here for about 2 weeks to perform Messiah with the Cleveland based Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire. If you haven’t heard of them, check out apollosfire.org! Some of you know, this is sort of a dream gig for me. While I’m still trying to figure out how it will all work, my ideal future would involve a lot of singing with choral groups like this so I’m SO excited to be here! Plus, it gives me a chance to come back to the Cleveland area and see some great friends for the first time since moving to Bloomington about 5 months ago. Cleveland is a place near and dear to my heart and it’s wonderful to be back – even for a short time! As I’m here, I thought I’d document some of my experience – the lessons learned and the joys of making music with others that share my passion. So here goes.

I arrived this Tuesday (December 6th) and attended our first rehearsal. This was optional as it had not been on the schedule until a couple of days before. Of course, since I have never actually performed Messiah before nor have I sung with Apollo’s Singers, I wanted to be a part of this rehearsal! Unfortunately, as neither of those things were the case for many of the other singers, I ended up being the only soprano. Cue first lesson learned.

While I had prepared fairly well beforehand, I was SUPER nervous and this caused a sort of domino effect in my singing. My nerves and lack of confidence led to poor breath support which led to intonation and clarity problems and my entrances were so timid, the moment seemed to pass before I finally caught on. It doesn’t help that Messiah choruses are really not built to be sung one on a part. Now, the whole rehearsal was not a disaster and there were many things that went very well, but needless to say, this isn’t the sort of first impression I wanted to make. One thing I will keep in mind for next time – be prepared for EVERYTHING.

Luckily, rehearsal yesterday was so much better with most of the singers that will be performing with the group in the next couple of weeks. It was wonderful to sing with such talented singers and to be able to use my natural voice. As my voice is so light and has little vibrato naturally, I often have to cover and mess with my sound to blend in modern large ensembles that have the bigger, fuller sounds. However, Apollo’s Singers sing with consistent straight-tone (no vibrato or vibration of the voice) and overall have a much lighter, brighter sound. I really felt that I was able to find that confidence in my sound and in my abilities as a singer while singing with this group! Combine that with the fact that all of these people are excellent musicians and great people, it’s going to be a great couple of weeks!

Stay tuned for more updates including an inside look at what a project schedule looks like (very little rehearsal, many performances) and insight on how to juggle working and gigging – especially around the Holidays!