Monday, March 06, 2006


I really ought to have pushed this past weekend's Soli Deo Gloria concerts a little harder. It's not my favorite repertory, but yesterday's concert, especially, went quite well.

And the chorus sounded great. I arrived at the venue, Zion Lutheran in Piedmont on the late side; the rest of the chorus was already running through some openings - wow. A beautiful sound, well-blended and balanced, and way more sound than you'd expect from 35 singers. (I must say that Soli Deo Gloria has many excellent voices in it it!)

Our other two venues were First Lutheran Church in Palo Alto and St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco.

If you've never been to St. Gregory's, you really do need to go. The building itself is beautiful, delightful, and unusual: the sanctuary is two very high-ceilinged connected rooms that are round, rather than square; it seems either can be configured with an altar; the iconography of the dancing saints is nothing like you'll see anywhere else. It's a fabulous venue for listening to music or for singing; the sanctuary is lively without being overwhelmingly resonant, and it's easy to hear yourself and the whole chorus. Sight-lines are also very good. The seats are comfortable as well.

First Lutheran is small, traditionally-configured and very fine to sing in as well, though I think you wouldn't want a really big chorus in there, or a group with an orchestra - that would overwhelm the space.

What I'm thinking about most is Zion Lutheran and how different it sounded to me a week ago and yesterday. My initial impression at our rehearsal last Monday was "dead space, unresonant, too muffled because of the carpeting and padded pews." I couldn't hear myself so well, and the chorus sounded to me like a bunch of disconnected voices. But we sounded great yesterday. I have to assume that was mostly a result of how I was feeling a week ago, with the balance being the extra week of rehearsal and two performances we had under our collective belts.

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