Well, today was a series of firsts.
In seventeen years of directing for the Durham Savoyards, I’d never attended the sitzprobe rehearsal. This is where the Music Director brings the orchestra and the vocalists together for the first time. Each group has rehearsed independently, but sitzprobe is their first combined rehearsal. And it’s all about the music. The Music Director focuses on timing and tempi and make all sorts of little musical adjustments. So I (director and choreographer) generally steer clear so as not to muddy the waters.
So why was I there today? To witness another first…
Today was our first ever “Open Sitzprobe Rehearsal,” hosted by Galloway Ridge at Fearrington in Pittsboro. Essentially, we threw open the doors to what has traditionally been a private event in a closed, cramped rehearsal hall. Today we rehearsed in the facility’s beautiful Chapin Auditorium and residents were invited to sit in on as much or as little of the rehearsal as they liked.
As I said, we’ve never done anything like this before. So we had no idea what to expect.
I’m happy to say that the response was overwhelmingly positive. The orchestra and the singers sounded brilliant, and most of the residents who chose to join us remained for the entirety of the rehearsal. That’s over two hours of music — plus the usual stops and starts to iron out any little musical wrinkles. Peppered throughout the performance of the score were mistakes and retakes, awkward silences, laughter, and applause — all the hallmarks of a good, solid, constructive rehearsal.
This lovely field trip, combined with the accompanying adrenaline rush, is a terrific start to our upcoming week of technical rehearsals; and a portent of great things to come during our brief string of performances next weekend.
Here’s a little impromptu video clip of Farren Hilliard singing “The Sun Whose Rays” in today’s rehearsal:
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