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Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 15:07:28 -0500
To: elpolvo
Subject: jerky

Last night was the dress rehearsal for the Christmas chorale tonight. Susie shuffled us around some ended up next to partners they hadn't sung with before. I ended up next to Dale because Mark wasn't there, his usual partner, and because Dale sings second bass and I low, and because he is a music teacher and holds notes for their true value instead of what Susie is indicating with her conducting-and because I didn't have my glasses-I lost some important phrases and might as well have been doing Druid chants.

Still, some onlookers thought overall we sounded good. Susie drilled us on phrasing and the importance of watching her as we sang because her eyes, hands and mouth all tell clearly what she wants such as clearer phrasing, crescendo or diminuendo, cutting off sharply, throttling way back, joyful, in awe, with abandon. When Dale insisted on holding a whole note at some point in the climax of a song for its full length instead of going along with her I lemming-like held out with him so we ended up singing a duet in counterpoint to what everyone else was singing. Dale has a wonderful, powerful singing voice.

We rehearsed for two hours and Marilyn lingered speaking with the school music teacher Cristine Berger and with Susie's mom who is her new partner in chorus, Del, who used to be my partner and now stands in the row in front of me passed around a big sack of beef jerky he'd made, someone else took over the piano from Linda, Dale's wife who was leaving for home, the soloists got into position and I got in my coat and took Marilyn's over to her there in the isle where she was still talking with Cristine. Meanwhile Susie began to sing this solo and Cody, her sister and our neighbor across the alley, told me, her eyes fully on Susie, that this was music they had found in Arizona and brought home with them. Susie is building this sweet melody and the words sing with the music and I am so deeply touched that all my defenses collapse and tears flood my eyes. I sort of stare at the rivery floor as the song goes on and the intimacy of it all, of these beautiful, upfront people who have taken us into their community, and this small church and this gorgeous music almost overwhelm me, I mean I'm one fiber away from falling to my knees and asking God for forgiveness for holding out so long and crawling around hugging everyone's ankles, slavering them with kisses. Somehow I manage to pull myself together and move in on Marilyn who is still talking with Cristine and offer her a rope of jerky.

Cristine Berger, who is in our chorus, put on the school Christmas program the night before where Cristina sang a solo. The entire program, themed A Prehistoric Christmas, featured dinos, various accomplishment levels of band numbers with some solos including one where Cristine plays french horn along with a ten year old student on clarinet, the french horn cradling the reedy melodies of the student in a way impossible to describe, but think of a powerful yodler in the Swiss alps singing counterpoint with a dandelion he loves very much. Cristina, our girl, was right behind the music teacher when it came time for her solo so we couldn't hear her and could barely see her from our bleachers seats in the gym, but people are still coming up to us in the street to comment on the beauty of her singing. Mrs. Cornell down the block came out of her house and ran across the lawn to us yesterday to talk about how touched she had been, and then invited us in to see the inside of her fifth wheel trailer, which is really opulent and roomy, has these hydraulic room expanders.

I'm going to rehearse now here in the office, just wanted to share this thing with you while it is still strong. I just got up an hour ago, at noon, slept like the dead.

Harry Chesterfield, the Blessed Virgin.

Yep, I get all the romance, you do all the work, that seems to be the way it's set up now but just you watch, this thing will open up. This thing is going to be A LOT OF FUN. When will you be able to go to Cabo? Which carrier offers a RT for $169.? We are taking off January 3rd and have about three weeks while Jonnie watches after the kids. I can see us meeting in Denver and flying to Mexico with you for 6 days easy.

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