Thursday, September 24, 2009


When I was a freshman in college I went up to the Wesley Foundation (heh) for a meeting. I was standing in the lobby, unsure of which way to go, when a friendly looking guy came out of the men's room and struck up a conversation. He was on his way to choir practice. I didn't even know there was a choir there, but the guy seemed friendly (and hawt!) and was a sophomore, so I asked him more about it. Ultimately, he went to choir, I went to my meeting, and the memory of the encounter moved to another, less frequently accessed part of my brain. Until I married the guy more than five years later.

I wanted to join the choir, but I was terrified of singing in public. So my introduction to the Wesley choir started nice and slow. I took my Calculus homework up to the Wesley every night the choir had practice and sat in the lobby working until they were done when Ryan and I would adjourn to the coffee shop next door to "study."

I finally joined the choir later that semester and I was hooked. I loved singing in harmony, I loved the piano music, and the music was meaningful and beautiful. The director was absolutely hysterical too. His name was Peter. He was from England, so anything he said sounded even funnier with his accent (and really, it's surprising that you can improve on phrases like "pull in your rude bits," which is what he instructed the men to do when they had high notes to sing, but you can).

Ryan and I became good friends with Peter during his time in our town, attending "bring your own beef" barbeques at his house, sampling his new baking experiments (always delicious), and watching movies together. He later moved to another city, but when we called him and announced our engagement he said "It's about time!" and then agreed to do the music at our wedding in exchange for gas and hotel money.

So on September 11 this year when Rice University was performing a Requiem composed by Peter, including some of the music Ryan and I had sung in choir years and years and years ago, we jumped at the chance to ditch the kiddos and head down there to see it. It was well worth it! Since we had sung with him, Peter had added woodwind parts and four soloists and several movements of new music. Much of the old stuff remained and I found myself mouthing the Latin along with the choir (no singing though, Ryan made me promise).

Rather than listen to me attempt to explain how incredibly beautiful the music was, how intricate, how stirring, you can listen to each of the movements here (and knowing Peter, he is snickering right now at the word "movements"). Go check it out!


choral_composer said...

Hehehehehe she said 'movements' :)

Ahh the joys of pulling in your rude bits LOL

AJU5's Mom said...

I have Streams in the Dessert - the worship CD. I always love listening to Peter and Anna sing their song on it - it is my favorite! Then again, I do like Brits (if only AJU1 had the accent his granddad has though...).

Alyssa said...

Isn't it amazing to see your friends do something so cool? I'll have to remember to listen to it at home today!

Rima said...

Hey, I'm a choir girl, too! And I love, love, love sacred music (I followed your link, but couldn't play the music on my Mac, for some reason). I think it's awesome that you and Ryan both sing, too. I would love to be able to do that with the P-dawg.