thinking @ 12:17 a.m.Had a long chat with the organist who's been with the cathedral for 22 years now. We'll call him doc Fingers. Have been musing about quitting the gig for some time now. Can't afford to financially, but may need to emotionally. I skulked around under the radar during the first year with the understanding that I was part of the pressure package to get an aging alto to realize on her own that it was past time to retire, but I didn't really see any change during the second year; still felt like I was being swept under the rug. So now we're headed into year three after the summer break and I'm not feeling hopeful. I mean, what happens when you push reasonably for what you want and you're ignored?
So I asked him if I could ask him a question entirely off the record in the break between my 3rd and 4th mass this weekend. I explained that headed into year 3 that I didn't have any confidence that I was truly an accepted member. His immediate reply was that in spite of 22 years, neither did he. We spent the next two hours in hushed conversation inserted around administering the service music. The most gratifying outcome of our conversation was that I'm not crazy. I'm not paranoid. He sees a lot of what I see and was able to shed light on reasons for some of it, but not reasons that made me hold out hope for a better, more involved year. Even after all this time, he wasn't aware that I am (was?) a spinto, since Director Guy uses/lists me solely as a worker bee mezzo/alto. His words. "Worker bee." I know that's not necessarily a bad thing, but as I told him, the needy, paranoid little diva in me needs to know that I'll eventually have the opportunity to spread my wings more, because as Doc Fingers put it, I have not been given the opportunity to do so stuck in the middle of an alto section populated mostly by 60+ year-old honkers with really poor pitch.
I want to teach and coach again. I'd love to run sectional rehearsals if DG would have it. DF confirmed it'd never happen in a million years because if the group got outside help, it'd show his deficiency in a "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" sort of way. We're a middling group with flashes of momentary promise and talent, but he packs our calendar so tightly that by the time we're performing a new or rather tricky piece, we've only been at it maybe a month or so in 20 minute increments. Think Arvo P�rt or Britten. Not everyone is a professional musician, some can't even read music. DF surmises our sound is as it is in part because DG's hearing loss is worsening. He can't hear at all on his left side and the right is seriously compromised.
I don't want a chair in the soprano section because it's simply not a possibility with the sound he's after. He likes soubrettes and my quality has never been and will never be that. I'd be in even worse vocal shape than I am now if I tried to mimic that sound. What I do want is more opportunities that recognize me as the spinto I am (was?). Towards the end of this last season, he threw in several performances of the "Laudate Dominum" from Mozart's Vesperae de Confessore with the women's chorus. As soon as I saw it appear, I asked for a shot of it. To no avail.
In short, the moments of sweetness are rare. I don't know if they are worth my continued membership.