As the chorus heads into production week, I find myself, once again, in a remarkable state of calmness. My partner doesn’t understand that about me. “I can’t believe how relaxed you are during these times,” he says frequently. My response, always, is that I’m not nervous, but excited. One of the great joys I have in working with the men of the AGMC is that our preparation begins very early and is as thorough as possible. This is what allows us to enjoy bringing our audiences great music that is prepared, polished, and professional.
Another great joy I have in this job is not taking credit for everything you see on the stage. I am fortunate to have many great volunteers that help bring together the various elements of a concert in a cohesive and polished form. Among them are T.N. Retif, the finest vocal technician I know; David Artadi, who is nothing short of an expert in languages; Peyson Moss, our very young and very gifted pianist; Eric Klem, one of the most collaborative and talented stage directors I’ve ever worked with; Robert Sandersand his team who make sure we have something to stand on; and Freddy Clements, who makes the drive from Alabama each week, not only to sing with us, but to create wonderful costumes for each concert.
These are only a few of the many talented men who give many hours of their valuable time toward creating music with a mission. Apart from their credit in the program, they seldom get the public recognition they deserve.
There’s also a group of chorus members who essentially double their commitment to the AGMC by singing in our small ensemblePanache (pictured here in a photo by Daemon Baizan). They rehearse twice a week and appear at many galas, fund-raisers, and private events that the full chorus cannot always attend. What’s more, Panache will give its first-ever ticketed concert performance on May 14 in Cannon Chapel on the Emory campus.
The chorus has many other heroes, including those who make up our music advisory committee, helping me make important choices about our programming; our membership committee, tracking and communicating information to over a hundred men; music leaders who hear things I sometimes don’t; an audience development team that works to keep our patrons informed of our performances; and many others, including Doug, Mac, Dennis, Tim C…well, I could write all day. It is the experience that I have with these men every Thursday night that reminds me of what a great job I have. I am indeed fortunate.
This week, the fruit of their labor will convene once again to bring you an exciting concert of some of the world’s greatest music (see the program in the right column). We’re taking on some very butch roles in this concert, playing sailors, hunters, soldiers, priests and maids. Wait…did I say butch?
Regardless, opera isn’t for sissies, as we will prove this week. The material makes great demands of its performers and our men have risen to the challenge admirably, which means that I, apart from the finishing touches, expect to get plenty of sleep this week. Thank you, my brothers, for all that you do, and thank you, our patrons, for understanding that we don’t sing on love alone. Your support is everything.
We look forward to seeing you at a new venue for us next weekend: The Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe and home to the Georgia Shakespeare Festival. Opera our way will be revisited and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.