Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Today I went caroling in Historic Downtown McKinney. The weather was actually quite nice, and we sang all of our songs--some of them twice. Some people came and watched. Some sang along. Sometimes they clapped. Really, as audio-visual wallpaper, that's the best you can hope for, and it was nice.

Now, I do this every year, but this was an odd performance for a couple of reasons.

1) My costume. I've worn the same thing for 4 years: long black skirt, white blouse with high lace collar, vest, jacket, and usually a doily on my head. It was very... 1900 school marm. Now, technically I should have been aiming more for 1865 British socialite, but you know, it's what I had in my closet and it worked. Then last year, my friend Ted made me this BEAUTIFUL rose & chocolate brown day suit, with dark brown velvet trim and the prettiest brocade and a corset that matched and he laced me in & I made a fabulous hat with lots of stuff on it, like this:

This year... well, I really wanted to wear my hat, but I don't know if you noticed a key word up there: corset. There is no corseting me at the moment. I'm full of baby. So, it was a bit of a concern as to what I was going to wear. I thought I could maybe just wear my old black & white school marm duds--the skirt still fastened and the vest sat high enough that it could be latched over my expanding middle. But then there was the hat... I didn't want to wear a doily. It was only going to be 47 in McKinney. That's not doily weather. That's hat weather. But my pink & brown costume was made to go over a corseted version of me which is about 4" smaller than the normal me, and I'm about 4" larger than that, so you see the problem.

Enter: The Bella Band. That's right! I totally used a spandex/cotton cummerbund as part of a Victorian caroling costume. And it worked! So I got to wear my fancy hat after all! The day was saved!

2) I almost forgot I was doing a list here. The other thing that was weird was the ratio of singers per part. Most of our songs are in 4 parts, SATB. We usually have a pretty even distribution on the parts, though the ladies tend to outnumber the men a bit. Well, this year, due to some life and stuff, illness and whatnot we wound up with 2 on bass, 2 on tenor, 5 altos and 1 soprano. Yeah... no balance there. So, we altos got to sing really soft and quiet and thankfully our 1 soprano was bolstered because the director sang soprano too, and they are both Ethridges. You don't know the Ethridges? Well, one time, many years ago, when Queen Anne's Lace was recording an album, and all the ladies had to share one microphone, the sound engineer was having a hard time getting a good balance. After several polite requests he came up with the following solution: If your name is Ethridge, face the wall. That way, with their voices only bouncing off the wall to get to the mic, they were in balance with the rest of the ladies who were singing INTO the mic. Yeah, they have some AMAZING lungs & voices. 

1 comment:

Elsha said...

I always think it's a little funny when altos outnumber sopranos (especially by a lot) since it's usually the other way around. (I sing alto, by the way.) Glad you managed to make your costume work!

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