In which the Diana Rigg fangirl in me reigns supreme...

Tuesday, the 14th of December, 2004 - 13 past 6pm

Current Instrumental Piece ~ "O Hanukkah", as performed (on handbells) by the Katonah Celebration Ringers.

One day, I swear I shall get to grips with the fact that closing a link with an italics tag doesn't work all that terribly well.
In the meantime, I can at least count among my achievements actually discovering the date of a moving festival before it's all over for the year, which I almost never manage even in the case of Easter (when you would have thought the weeks of rehearsals prior to the event would have been a bit of tip-off).
Happy Hanukkah, everybody!

True, delays to this entry (which was originally started on the 8th) mean that the above was only just in date (hooray for lengthy festivals!), but heigh-ho.
Onward to the actual content part of this entry...

To start with that which is thrilling at least to me, a couple of days ago I performed (with the Prestigious London Choir) at a charity carol concert, which not only took place in a church with fabulous acoustics and opened with O Come All Ye Faithful complete with descant verse (which continues to be my favourite descant ever), but also featured celebrity readings including one by Diana Rigg.

Now, my fondness for Diana Rigg goes way, way back. In my dim and distant youth, I was a great fan of all things Mildred Hubble, and watched the Worst Witch film (which features Ms. Rigg as the best Miss Hardbroom the world is likely to ever see) more times than my limited memory and mathematics skills can cope with trying to count.
If she had done nothing else worth watching, I would still have a sentimental attachment; so when you factor in The Avengers, well, you can imagine the fangirlish squeeing.

The service itself went splendidly. All eight of our anthems (which ranged from the very twee Nativity Carol to the very impressive For Unto Us A Child Is Born by way of Warlock, Howells, Gounod and other such nifty composers) went very well - a great relief after rehearsals not going particularly well (partly, I suspect, because you have to have your wits about you for 20th century classical works, and most choirs get overly used to coasting) - and the audience joined in with the congregational carols with much enthusiasm.

I continue to get a lot out of a noticably enthused audience, be it the Gilbert & Sullivan crowd who bring their full scores to concerts or those of churchy backgrounds who sing all of the traditional carols from memory.
Without wishing to get into a long rant (as I frequently have done recently), it doesn't take many sightings of people singing traditional carols with their eyes closed and with more passion than most semi-professionals ever manage to realise that those who think the traditional texts are 'archaic and boring' are wrong.
(To cover recent angst-generationg matters briefly: carol texts have been a matter of heated debate at church this year. I'm very happy to report that the choir has won the battle to keep the traditional texts, on grounds of practicality - we would have been forced to read the words out of the hymn book and the music out of three different carol books while processing in the dark, which just isn't on. If we'd lost, I would in all honesty be moving churches in the New Year.)

After that little foray into churchy politics, we return to the all-important issue of Diana Rigg, and yours truly's epic hunt for an autograph.
This was not the stroll through the daisies that one might have thought, considering that she took to standing by the organ (sensibly, for that was where the celebrity reader refreshments were) betwixt stage and stairs to the rooms that we chorister types leave our coats and bags.
I descended said stairs as fast as possible with unreasonably leisurely choristers in front of me, retrieved my pen , and dashed upstairs again... whereupon I was asked by The Conductor to fetch a certain chorister.
So, like the dutiful little soprano that I am, I dashed down the stairs again, found said chorister, ran upstairs once more (wishing one of my choral associates a very brief farewell on the way), and by some great miracle found that Diana Rigg was still exactly where I left her.

Thus it was that I came away with a signature on my programme, which I reckon is extra nifty given that it's the programme from a concert that I was actually in.
Also, I might add that my choir can now claim to have been personally complimented by Diana Rigg. Could we be any cooler?

Of course, in order to restore balance to a universe in which I was clearly being too lucky (hell, I even found a good pub with awe-inspiringly chilled white wine during the post-rehearsal-pre-concert break), the cold that had been threatening throughout the concert sprang upon me during the night, positively bristling with teeth and claws and a really snitty attitude.
I woke up that morning with no voice worth speaking of - unless, of course, one wished for an extremely quiet bullfrog impression, in which case I would have been ideal - and have consequently missed one wedding service and one rehearsal so far.
In my infinite obsessive madness, I did make it along to church on Sunday to preserve my attendance record and did, ah, 'sing' with the choir, in the loosest sense of the word. The occasional note worked. Most of them didn't. C'est la flu.

Since then I have whiled away my time snuffling pitifully, lazing about in my father's fleece (my warm cardigans having been shredded - alas, alack, et cetera and so forth), watching Utena: The Black Rose Saga, downing vitamin C and zinc, and, since last night, reading RPG humour.

On the bright side, I can confirm that at least for me, cocoa (or more practically speaking, chocolate with a reasonable cocoa content) is a good cough remedy - and not just because I can't really argue with a cure that involves Divine and Lindt.
Indeed, it may even be better than regular medicinal sweets, which is a heartening thought for those of us who are paying for our irresponsible menthol use...

Prior to the concert (to go back to the dim recesses of my memory for a moment), I attended my last conducting class of the year, wherein I conducted Kodaly's Veni, Veni Emmanuel. A nerve-wracking business, but although my pre-conducting speech on the text was not as eloquent inspiring as I'd hoped (this talking-in-public-without-a-script lark may never be my thing), the conducting itself was reasonably successful.
I hope to have the opportunity to revisit the piece at some point, as it really is gorgeous. I'd also appreciate any mp3s of it that anyone might have lying around (she hints subtlely), as I can't find it anywhere...

Righty-ho, then, I think that brings us at least vaguely up-to-date with the happenings of my oh-so-incredibly-exciting life.
Au revoir for now, and join me again soon for the thrill that is our hurtling towards the Christmas service season!


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