Normally we start Christmas practices in September. This year, however, we are starting the last week of August for a couple of reasons. First, our Christmas Outreach is earlier in December than our cantatas typically are. Second, by next Sunday, the first week of September is already gone! It would be like losing a week of rehearsal.
This year’s Christmas Outreach is unique in that we are doing fewer songs, but each song will be more difficult than what we typically do. We will introduce the songs over the course of a few weeks, and we will work on them in split practices for a couple months.
Remember, the first stage of learning new songs is stressful. Your heart races, your frustration levels rise, and you want to give up and quit because it is overwhelming. Believe me… I am all too familiar with this feeling. We started our Temecula Valley Symphony Chorus practices last week and read through some difficult music. The director (Eric Rea) asked before each song, “Who here has sung this arrangement before?” and before each song, it seemed like half the hands went up. When we blasted through those songs, I felt like I was the only one who had no clue what I was doing.
But I’m okay with that. I know—rationally and logically—that I will learn the song in time. It is not enjoyable at first, but the hard work pays off in the end.
So let’s work hard the next few months. I think it will be totally worth it when we can use our abilities to see new people exposed to our church. Our end goal is that through our involvement in this Christmas Outreach, new souls are saved. What a goal! Eternal goals like ours trump community choir goals, any day.