Just before break this evening, I looked around and counted 30 singers: 7 altos, 5 trebles, 14 tenors, and 4 basses. Of those, at least two were completely new singers, and another half dozen relatively new singers.
Best of all, the class sounded really good. We have sometimes struggled a little with intonation over the past few months, but tonight all sections were right on pitch. Early on, the tempos started dragging a little, but when Jeremy was leading he called our attention to it by tapping his foot — the class quickly responded and caught up with him, and after that we rarely fell behind the leader’s tempo. And the class didn’t shout or bellow tonight; we were loud, but tuneful and musical. This wasn’t the most ecstatic or transcendent Berkeley weekly singing I’ve ever attended, but it was one of the more musical singings we’ve had.
We lost one of our basses at the break (he had to join the tenor front bench). At the end of the evening, Philip turned to Jeremy and me, the other two basses, and said, “For only three of us, we did a great job.” We did, too: we hit all but one of our entrances on fuguing tunes solidly, we were working together as a team; there’s a good analogy here somewhere between a well-functioning bass section and team sports.
2 replies on “30 once again”
I’m interested to see you’ve been having big groups at your singings for the last few weeks; so have we in New York, at least at the Lower East Side and Wednesday night sessions (Brooklyn is never large). Some of the increase is people who’d come for a while, fell away, and are now back; some is all-new singers (we have at least one new person at most singings, but the numbers are up), and maybe some is the core group re-committing, but I’m less clear about that. (I have the data on S&G, so why don’t I just count?) But none of us is clear why it’s happening now. Could it simply be seasonal?
Haruspex — I don’t know why there are so many newcomers. I do know that some of our regular singers are inviting friends to come try it out. And I’ve talked to a number of newcomers who have found out about Sacred Harp singing online. But why so many? I don’t know. I think it could be seasonal.
I also feel that we’re not doing a great job at retaining newcomers — I’d guess that we retain less than 10% of all newcomers.