As you may remember, I sing at church. Well, three churches to be exact. In those churches, I work with different music directors who have varying abilities and personalities. For the most part, I enjoy doing what I do. It can be lots of fun and hard work (yes, singing is work--you use many different muscles!). Anyway, today was one of those fun days.
One of my favorite directors is RL. He is incredibly talented, has a type A personality, even-tempered and has a great sense of humor. I often wonder what he's doing in a rinky dink little church on Long Island and not in Manhattan playing at St. Patrick's Cathedral. However, the cathedral's loss is my gain. This man challenges me to become a better musician. During mass, he will modulate keys, add interludes between verses of songs (when none are written), play a different harmonization (such as English ones), go off on musical tangents all while expecting me to go along with him. Some singers might find this stressful, but I don't. He and I both feel it makes things more interesting. Playing a hymn over and over can become tedious and boring. My job is to encourage the congregation to sing along with me. If I let his creativity stress me out, the people won't feel comfortable and won't sing along. They should feel as if singing with me is like taking a walk in the park. Something that is an easy, enjoyable activity. Not to blow my own horn, but I know RL doesn't do this kind of thing to the other singers. He has told me so. It makes me feel good, really proud of the musicianship I've achieved, yet I find myself wondering what will he do next. It's good, it keeps me on my toes.