That feeling…

… when you’re doing a service with a quartet singing Renaissance polyphony that you’ve never seen before and which is being transposed down a fourth because the soprano is off sick so you’re singing her line and everything is going well, but then the bass comes in a tone high and your entry sounds off so you stop singing and, instead of adapting  to another, more reliable line, panic so completely that you lose your place in the score and become flustered, actually emitting two tiny high-pitched noises of confusion (which compel the front two rows of the congregational choir, now, to sit bolt upright – eight pairs of eyes squeezed shut and 32 fingers all crossed in a row – and later, when it’s all over, to make big thumbs up at you and mouth “don’t worry: that was GREAT”) and are compelled to actually go down a step and ask the organist where, in his opinion, he thinks you are in the score while the others sing bravely, proficiently on – all the while your face burning tight with white-hot embarrassment – then spend an infinite 20 seconds vainly trying to identify a  place where you can make an entry without making it seem obvious that this whole sorry debacle wasn’t planned (though it’s clear that all 250 members of the congregation have not only noticed but, being Catholics, are actively itching with humiliation, and the priest when you leave is really, painfully nice, though you know that on some level he must be ruing the day he ever agreed to pay for your services and is wondering if the organist will get someone better, thinner and more professional for next week)?


About Christina Kenny

Christina Kenny is a music journalist based in London.
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