After saying all summer that my substitute church gig was just that, I accepted a longer commitment last week. I'll be the pianist and choir director (let's call the whole deal Music Director) of a local church in Princeton.
I've worked out a trial period, through Christmas, with the pastor, at which time we can both evaluate and see if it's a good fit. I'm comforted by things like this because I am a commitment-phobe about all things except marrying Casey. Seriously, don't ask me what I'm doing tomorrow because I'd like to be free to change my mind and it affect nobody.
I had my first rehearsal with the choir last night. There will be some sneaky "lemme teach ya how to read music" moments, but overall I can tell that everyone just has a good time and is glad to be singing. I think they've had almost 2 months off due to the whole substitute/no regular director situation. Everyone there seems to be really nice and was courteous during our first rehearsal.
Luckily, we have a few weeks until we have to perform our first selection in the service, which gives us time to prepare weeks ahead of time - and I'd certainly like to keep it that way. I've never been a person who's short on ideas, and with only being committed for a week thus far, I have many performance/community engagement ideas.
For the sake of not forgetting, here are a few:
- piano/organ duets with the guy that just left the position
- marimba/choir arrangements (there's a Sunday in October that would work well for this)
- Christmas music service with no cantata, but some cool arrangements of carols/hymns
- MLK special music - "We Shall Overcome" and the like
- feature Concord students, and perhaps ask some tenors to come along and sing?
- Easter cantata this year - pay instrumentalists to come
- anthems that feature instrumental soloists for variety (most likely CU students)
After last night's rehearsal I'm more at ease with my decision to stay on. You never know what kind of music people like, and as is often the case with churches, they know what they like and don't appear to be too interested in learning something new. Perhaps the secret will be how I introduce new pieces. Though I'm not a superfan of "high church" music, some of it is really beautiful, and would really complement their style of service nicely.
The church I'll be serving at broadcasts each Sunday morning on the radio, so the projects the choir takes on are not only heard by the congregation, but by an additional 300 people or so through the airwaves. It's nice to know that the work and effort will be heard by many. Hopefully that number will increase through my time there.