What you sing first really matters

The other night at choir practice, we were digging around for material for late Easter and Pentecost and found several pieces that we hadn’t touched in years. We found a Pange Lingua by Vitoria, a O Quam by Vitoria, a piece by Palestrina, a Pater Noster by Guerrero, and more. We pulled out each one and found that they were fantastic and singable even though we hadn’t sung them in years. It’s amazing how this music comes back to life to quickly. Our minds are amazing that way, how we can recall so much that we don’t think we can recall.

Our schola was extraordinarily fortunate to have picked good music at the outset, even from the first rehearsal. The hours we spent in these early days have paid returns over the years. Every piece you learn is something that stays in your “capital stock” for years to come. Not one minute is wasted.

Singers today have the great gift of CPDL.org to look through and find material that is suitable. This surely beats buying octavos that you make your way through once and never see again.

New scholas: listen up. Sing the best material now. In ten years, it will still be fresh and wonderful. You can still sing it at anytime. It is worth it to spend the extra time and energy getting it right from the outset rather than just getting by with the easiest material now.