So I went yesterday. Both of the two rehearsals I've been to prior to now have been inifinitely frustrating because I've been tired and cranky, almost reducing me to tears on both occasions. My choir friend, whom I normally sit next to, is a lady called Chris. She asked where I was last week (assuming I was ill) and I explained that the Bach was daunting and that I'd give it another couple of weeks before making a decision whether or not to do the concert. She asked me very nicely not to give up, which was oddly refreshing, in a way; even though my efforts in the grand scheme of the whole choir go obviously unnoticed (seriously, can I have my re-audition soon to show my level of improvement from that first disastrous effort? Please?), it is always good to know that they're appreciated by the people nearby.
I think we sort of hold each other up, in a way. Chris has been with the choir for about 30 years and has done most of our pieces before. Where I am struggling with sight-reading, she probably already knows it. I have a good ear and will pick stuff up quickly, so if Chris is off for a week and I'm not, and we've covered something new in the interim, she will at least have someone immediately next to her who knows what's going on. We are matched pretty well vocally, too, and luckily both ended up in Choir B.
Last night seemed easier. Perhaps because I wasn't so tired, and my brain was working better. Bach is seriously hard work; after an hour or so the notes all start to blur at the edges. They also split the rehearsal into men and women because the movement we were rehearsing was a six-way split (two male parts, four female), and it was easier for Adrian to drill the four female parts whilst Colin worked with the men. And Adrian, upon realising everyone was getting lost in the ocean of semi-quavers that is the Sanctus, helped each part through the most difficult bits calmly and patiently, rather than getting frustrated with us all for not getting it first time.
I think maybe they've realised that shoving people out of their comfort zone in two different directions does not result in perfect sight-reading or immediate cooperation. Bach has this horrible tendency to make you think he's being predictable before throwing a spanner in the works, so for all the points where we sit back and go "Ah, that's better", there's a funny rhythm two seconds later that trips us up. Eventually it just turns into a Morecambe and Wise sketch - we're singing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. :P
So yes. There were still moments of utter frustration where I kept getting lost and giving up, but I can start to see it coming together. I realised last night on the walk to the bus stop that really, giving up because I can't do it is a completely childish reaction. It's basically throwing my toys out of the pram and having a tantrum at the same time. I remember feeling like this when we did the Verdi, and then loving it when I'd finally got the hang of it.
Seriously. I'm nearly 30 years of age; my immediate reaction to something that is difficult should not be, "Bugger this, I'm not doing it." Not matter how frustrating it is now, in a couple more weeks it will start to come together. I like to think that I face problems head on and deal with them rather than running away. As I said above, I have a good ear and a good music memory; when those complicated sections have stuck, it will become much easier. And anyway, Chris has a copy of the whole thing on CD and will get me a copy, so at least I should be able to listen to it.
I survived the Verdi. I survived the Macmillan. I survived the frigging Hebrew, for God's sake. I can survive bloody Bach and his bloody balanced choir.
TL;DR - I'm probably not giving up on the Bach after all.
The concert's in Worcester Cathedral in April if anyone wants to come; I might give my Worcester-based university friend a heads-up, to see if she wants to come, or meet up either afterwards or beforehand for lunch, assuming she's not busy. I haven't seen her in years and we've only recently found each other again on Facebook.
I just about managed to get my first Fandom for February post up yesterday before midnight, so let's see if I can keep the momentum going. I have the first five days already in place on my hand-written list, as well as the majority of others, with just a few gaps. I have moved a couple of the ships around several times and there are some 'favourite' ships which I am having trouble placing... but we'll see how it goes.
Anyway, that's enough of that. My new external hard-drive (1TB) arrived yesterday so I shall spend this evening moving music and pictures onto that in order to free up hard-drive space, and then Vista can eat as much as it likes. :P