This time of year gets crazy with concerts, parties, and other social obligations. It’s not quite as bad as when I was a choir director AND teaching school music, but it’s hectic, nonetheless. I always have additional singing gigs, and this year we seem to have more than usual.
We have a regular Carolina Christmas with the Greenville Chorale coming up next weekend, which is a joint concert with the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. Friday, December 10, we sing at McAlister Auditorium at Furman, and then we repeat the concert in Hendersonville the following Saturday.
This past Saturday we sang for the city’s Christmas tree lighting prior to the Greenville Christmas Parade. A large portion of the Chorale gathered in the rain wearing Santa hats to sing carols before and after the lighting. It went very well, and the mayor said he’d love to see us come back each year. It was actually great publicity for the group.
However, most of our concerts involve payback (in the nice sense of the word.) Several groups have donated money to the Chorale, so we we come sing at their Christmas parties. We have several of those scheduled over the next couple of weeks.
These type of payback concerts are always problematic. First, we’re often singing very religious songs in a very secular, business environment. It seems a bit odd, but hasn’t been too much of a problem. The bigger issue has been with audience response. Sometimes we’re outright ignored. I got into a discussion about this with one of my fellow singers, who got all bent out of shape because no one was listening. His argument was that they had invited us, so they ought to pay attention. My response was that we were intruding on their party. If it were a concert situation it would be totally different. However, it’s not. Most often we’re singing at a company’s Christmas party where there is supposed to be food, drink, and conversation. I know it’s disappointing when there is no applause, and no one seems to listen, but you have to understand the circumstances.
I think that when singing groups try to force the issue they wind up doing more harm than good. Then it truly does become an unwelcome intrusion into someone else’s party. “Listen to me, damn it!” doesn’t get corporation donations. Just go with the flow, and be happy when one or two people do applaud or respond favorably.