When I visited the Bay Area for a wedding earlier this summer, I went to see the chorus perform, and stopped by to say hi. The chorus administrator, Greg Boals, teased me by asking why I hadn't signed up to sing on the Mahler recording, and I said "Um, because I live in New York?" So as soon as I decided to move back to California, I gave Greg a call and said "Um, so, about the Mahler - is it too late to sign up?" He said "Actually, we're looking for 15 more auxiliary singers to fill out the chorus - can you be here in two weeks for an audition?" The date he mentioned turned out to be when I was going to be in California anyway looking for housing, so it worked out great. I re-auditioned for the new chorus conductor, Ragnar Bohlin, and was accepted to join the Mahler chorus.
It was quite a trip down memory lane as the majority of the chorus remembered me even though it had been two and a half years since I had left. The hardest part was actually getting my voice back - I hadn't sung at all in New York, so my vocal stamina was gone (my voice would start giving out halfway through the three hour rehearsals) and I had lost some of the technique and skill necessary to make my voice sound good over different registers. Mahler's 8th is also a very strenuous piece vocally, as it requires extended singing at extreme ranges and high volumes. But it helped that I had performed the piece before, and my voice came back eventually.
We recorded for the CD live at four concerts in mid-November. The concerts went extremely well - Joshua Kosman, the Chronicle critic, said that MTT had mastered the symphony for the first time. I particularly enjoyed the concerts, as I had missed the rush of performing in front of a crowd of three thousand, and the elation of getting a roar from that crowd during the ovations afterwards. It also helped that I had friends and family at each of the concerts cheering me on.
It was also a pleasure and a privilege to work under the guidance of Michael Tilson Thomas again. See my MTT page for some specific stories.
I don't know if I'll sign up for the chorus again next year - commuting up from Mountain View was quite an ordeal, and Google is keeping me busy. But if I don't go back to it, this was definitely a fitting concert with which to end my chorus tenure. And I definitely look forward to the release of the CD in a year as a commemoration of my time with the chorus (and if it earns a Grammy, even better :) ).
The symphony site has program notes available.
Reviews of our performance:
Eric Nehrlich's WWW home page / firstname.lastname@example.org