Since January, bad weather seems as if it has targeted Tuesdays, and Tuesdays are the day I rehearse the Burlington Choral Society. We’ve had to cancel three rehearsals out of the ten that should have taken place thus far because of snow.

Too bad for Brahms, whose Requiem and Schicksalslied are what we’re rehearsing. Too bad for the singers in the chorus, who sing both out of their interest in the music and their interest in the the feel-good release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of euphoria that is stimulated by singing in a chorus. Too bad for the audience who might hear a concert in April that has not been polished as much as we would like.

But most of all, too bad for me. Rehearsing is such a selfish pleasure. I covet the experience of trying to realize the complexity of music on the page by doing what I can to motivate singers to enjoy the learning process. If they are engaged in their musical experience, the speed of their learning is increased, and their pleasure is increased.

That may sound like I’m nice, and maybe even generous-spirited to be seeking an increase in the pleasure of others, but it’s not as innocent as that. It’s all about me. What gives me a rush. What makes me feel good.

There’s a reason conductors live a long time. The rehearsal and concert “equation” is simple:  a little work + a little responsibility + a little sharing = a lot of gratification.

The dark side of that equation is this: if 1/3 of the rehearsals are canceled because of snow, you have a 33%  decrease in gratification. Not nice.

 

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