The Sound of Music Rehearsals: All the Nuns Do, Really, is Get Onstage and Sing
I’ve been called to rehearsal thrice this week. The first two were just the nuns doing more parts work with Justin. Charlotte, who plays the Mother Abbess in the show, has her secret identity as a voice instructor, so she’s been helping Justin catch things we need to fix. She pointed out on Monday that when the second sopranos are spot-on, the whole choir is spot-on. Since I had noticed prior to that observation that if I fuck up, the rest of the section fucks up, I find myself in a position where I can drag the entire choir down. (I’m poorly skilled at blending with my section and have a strong voice, so a couple of the girls listen to me to make sure they’re on track.) For most of the songs this isn’t a problem, but I have a couple of problem spots, including having to punch a C through a Gmaj chord, which are going to be the focus of most of my solo practicing. I have the music pretty much memorized, now, thankfully, so I just need to practice those trouble spots over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and OVER until my head wants to explode.
Tuesday we had another nun join our ranks. An offstage nun, sent to bolster the altos, since this new nun is actually a guy — and a rather large one, at that. There’s no way we’d be able to pass him off as a woman onstage, even with the habits covering just about everything. So Sister Mary Timothy (nuns do sometimes take guys’ names) will spend the entire show in the wings, making our four-part harmony sound better without having to be too hot under a stifling costume.
Yesterday we finished the nuns’ blocking. That was short work. Our movement for anything but scene changes is limited, but then we spend however long on stage singing our hearts out. The nuns do more singing in the play than I had first anticipated when I went up for the part. (Just saying, mind; I love it.) I’m pretty sure the nuns are the only people in the show with four-part harmony. The kids have some harmony in their version of The Sound of Music, but it’s three-part. And while I think the kids have at least one instance of a capella singing, the nuns start the show with a capella. It’s pretty grand.
Speaking of the nuns starting the show: the school shows, the ones intended field trips, are being shortened. The full show — which is what we’re doing for all the evening and weekend performances — runs about two and a half hours. We’re cutting an hour, if I recall correctly, for the school shows. Included in the cuts are almost everything the nuns sing. The show is going to start with Maria singing The Sound of Music, and the wedding preparation scene in which we sing the number I’ve dubbed Nuns: The Reprisal is being removed. I don’t know what other cuts are being made, but any nun without lines is going to sing one random song in the middle and then the ending number, where we all come onstage with the Mother Abbess for a four-part harmony version of Climb Every Mountain. If I had to guess, the cuts that Erin has decided to make are going to result in the school shows being a lot like the movie version.
Argh, a Gmaj chord with a C added to it! It drives me bonkers just thinking about it.