The first half of our Newburyport concert was full of frightening, awful moments, ranging from an inability to keep any of the pieces in the same key they started in to a complete meltdown in the middle of "Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf" that necessitated a complete cut-off and a new pitch. In many ways, it was every single one of my choral nightmares come true; we weren't together, we weren't watching the conductor, we were making egregious, awful mistakes... When we got to intermission, I stormed out of the church and slammed my folder to the ground, then stomped off and fumed in the parish house. I was so angry and embarassed at our performance that I didn't want to go back out on stage.
When I came back, I was FURIOUS when I realized that people in the group were laughing and making jokes about our first half. After all, this was a concert that we were hired to perform. The church gave us the venue and took care of promotion and ticket sales. All we had to do was show up and sing, and so far we'd failed dismally. It infuriated me that some of the other members of the group weren't taking this concert as seriously as I was. I had no faith in our ability to put on a good second half.
Then, we got on stage. We sang a couple of Montiverdi madrigals and sang them beautifully. Then, we did an absolutely gorgeous piece by Norman Lockwood called "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and did it well. This was followed by a couple of lovely French songs and a couple of even lovelier English songs. By the time we did our encore, I was mollified that we'd done a good second half, but I was still seething about the first half. Then, after we left the stage, the most remarkable thing happened; everyone in the audience came up to us and told us how much they had enjoyed the entire concert! People were even picking songs out of our first half which I had considered to be dismal failures (most notably Arvo Pärt's "Maginificat") and saying how wonderful they were. Most of all, people were thanking us for coming to their church and performing for them. It was... humbling. The perfectionist in me was getting in the way of my love of singing.
I've come to terms with the fact that it wasn't the best concert I've ever done. I'm just thankful that I have the chance to perform like this on a semi-regular basis. Now, I just have to memorize that damn Ravel and Stravinsky piece for the BSO concerts at the end of the week, because we just had rehearsal for that tonight and I REFUSE to make that many mistakes at the orchestra rehearsal Wednesday...