John Morris said I had to blog about today’s rehearsal, so I figured that was as good of an entry title as any.

Joe and I had a rehearsal today because some of us Sing Live USA members are going back to England pretty soon for another opportunity to sing at the Royal Albert Hall, this time as part of The Night of 1000 Voices charity performance to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma research in the UK. There are about 10 of us who are going this time around, only 9 of which are actually singing (the 10th one, Steve, is married to one of our Altos, Carol), so with a group that small we were able to rehearse at John’s (our chorus director) home instead of a local church like we would do if it was a larger group. With Joe’s wacky Pharmacist schedule, he was originally scheduled to work this weekend but he made plans with his co-worker to switch work days so he could be there for the first 2 rehearsals (this Saturday and Sunday), figuring they were going to be more important for the learning experience than the last ones in the series (a few weeks away), which we (as a group) only “may or may not do,” more as a review, depending on how much we feel we need them.

We didn’t need to be anywhere for the rehearsal until 1-1:15pm or so, so while Joe spent his morning at the Subaru dealership getting whatever it was that he had to get done at 15,000 miles, I spent my morning punching holes in my sheet music and getting the papers somewhat organized so I could put them into the 3-ring binder that I asked Joe to pick up for me on his way home. Yeah, I tend to run either über anal retentive or über disorganized…there are no shades of gray for Sharon. And I figured with a rehearsal CD playing pretty much nonstop in my car, no structured rehearsals until today and my inability to sight read sheet music anyway, I’d just let it all stay piled on top of the TV in the computer room, a little cockily proud that I had even printed it out already, figuring I would get it done eventually. Who knew that “eventually” would become “less than 2 hours before rehearsals were going to start”? What can I say…I work best with deadlines.

So Joe got home and we got our stuff together. We dropped Dobby off at Joe’s parents’ house because we really had no idea of what time were going to be home…depending on circumstances, it could be after rehearsal and dinner, or it could be after rehearsal, dinner and a trip to Clermont to see friend Scott in a community theater production of “The Odd Couple”…and if the latter, Dobby was going to be home alone for upwards of 10 to 12 hours. So we made plans with my in-laws to keep her and, if we weren’t getting home until really late, for her to sleep over. Dobby, of course, was THRILLED to see her “puppy grandparents” and barely gave us a second look as we left Joe’s parents’ house.

We got to our meeting place (John’s local bar/pub…it was just a short distance from his house and there was ample parking there, as opposed to the area immediately around where he lived, where there was virtually none) around 1pm – everyone else was already there or arrived a minute or two after we did. Well, except for Peggy and Carol, that is. They were driving together. Marge got out of her car, saying that she had just gotten a voice mail from Peggy, though…they were running late and traffic on I-4 was VERY backed up so they would get there as quickly as they could and what’s the sense of having a cell phone Marge, if you don’t pick it up? (hehehe) John had come to meet us by this point so we all went inside the bar to wait for Carol and Peggy. We sat at a table and just chewed the fat, with Marcia telling us stories of when she was abroad, all of us throwing ideas back and forth about what we would like to do on the upcoming trip (Barb came up with one EXCELLENT idea and I think we all hope that John follows through with it!) and half-admiring and half-teasing Darlene’s ultra, mega, super-duper anal-retentive book of sheet music (typed index, color coordinated, you name it! She put my 11am last-minute paper hole-punching and gathering to SHAME, LOL!). Peggy called back – she didn’t think she was where she needed to be and needed more directions. Marge wasn’t sure so she gave the phone to Joe. She didn’t know it but that wasn’t the smartest move, since the poor guy got his parents’ atrocious sense of direction. So Joe gave the phone to me since he knows that, fortunately, I got my father’s (but not my mother’s horrible) terrific sense of direction. I figured out where they were and how to get them to where we were and they showed up about 10 minutes later, a little frustrated and frazzled but no worse for the wear.

Off to John’s condo we went, with John and Marge driving their respective SUVs and the rest of us loaded into them.

I had been to John’s condo once before, albeit briefly, to pick up my share of the salmon we had caught when we went fishing together in Alaska last year. And I know Marge had been there before but I don’t think the rest had. So after advising us to watch out for the loose and popped-up tiles near the kitchen (apparently it’s a problem for several units in the building and there’s currently a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the builder), we had a quick tour of the location of the guest bathroom and what direction the fireworks from Universal, Magic Kingdom and Sea World were from the awesome view from his balcony. We looked for alligators and John’s STILL unnamed raccoon friend from the balcony too but alas, the only thing we saw in the swamp was a white plastic lawn chair.

We got settled on the big couch, making sure, on our own, that we were seated according to voice type (not that that was difficult. I mean, all we had were one each of 1st soprano, 2nd soprano, tenor and bass, plus two each of 1st and 2nd altos – although we’ll have a whopping 2 tenors once Matt, our 9th singer, gets back from Australia in a week). John first told us the 10-year history of the Night of 1000 Voices production, Sing Live’s traditional part of each show, and a little bit about some of the current and former “big players” involved in the production – including some stories, observations and comments that were very funny but not really for public knowledge (;-P). And then we sang.

And sang.

And sang.

And sang.

Actually, we didn’t really sing all THAT much. John had some concert versions of some of the songs we were going to perform so we could hear how what we were singing would fit into the main part of the song (with a few exceptions here and there, we will be the backup singers to the soloists, the likes of which include Adam Pascal, David Michael Johnson and a whole lot of British performers that I’ve never heard of…but who I hear are very good, LOL!). So we had to wait each time when he pressed STOP instead of PAUSE on the CD player and then he had to start over again at the beginning of the CD (and until he would figure out that it wasn’t “the” song he was looking for, it was sort of like an impromptu “Name That Tune” game…I can name that tune in 4 notes, Tom! That’s “The Time Warp.”). Plus he had some more funny stories and editorial comments here and there, too, which gave us more breaks from singing. So although we all worked hard, well, let’s just say it wasn’t one of the most difficult rehearsals I’ve ever been to. I know those will be coming though. Lordy, will they be coming!

Finally we had gone through everything and we decided to call it a night. We ended a little later than was anticipated and still hadn’t had dinner, so Joe and I agreed that our tentative trip to Clermont was, unfortunately, going to have to be canceled. John and most of the other singers were going back to the bar to eat so we joined them.

While waiting for our food, we talked some more about what we would and/or wouldn’t want to see while we were in the Leeds area. Some ideas had unanimous interest and some…not so much. Personally, I’m still hoping for the National Coal Mining Museum so I can add “coal mine” to the list of caves, caverns and lava tubes I’ve been in (Oh, and I bet you didn’t know that the Easter Bunny will be at the National Coal Mining Museum through 16 April!). But we still have time to think about it all and decide – with such a small group, we won’t have to worry about renting a tour bus and such…we’ll just take trains and stuff.

We bid everyone goodbye and made our way home, picking up a happy, excited, exhausted Dobby on the way.

And we get to do it all again tomorrow! Hopefully the raccoon will make an appearance this time. More hopefully I’ll be able to hit that high C# in “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.” Personally, I’d give better odds on a raccoon sighting.

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