Conducting while seated
I have been fending this off for nearly twenty years; but last Saturday and Sunday I finally had to sit while conducting concerts. I am likely to recover from this particular acute back event, and conduct on my feet again-- but this is definitely a harbinger of things to come. So how did it go? Far better than I expected. I have fallen, twice, while conducting during the past two seasons, so my singers are always somewhat on edge, warning me with their eyes when I approach the edge of the stage, gasping a little if I momentarily lose my footing. And I rehearse more and more while seated-- so they are both comfortable and relieved when I am not on my feet. But I have always felt that the group could happily lose itself in comfort and relief, and consequently needed all of my physical energy and involvement-- like a blood transfusion; pull out the tube, and they would wilt before me. I conflated that tube, with being on my feet-- as though the strength came up out of the ground, through my arms and hands, and just bodily picked them up. Facing the future, as well as acknowledging weaknesses in my conducting, I have known that I had to find a new and better way to get the results I was after-- but then, as soon as I sensed low energy or attentiveness from the group, I'd be back on my feet again, fanning their feeble flames.
My lesson this past weekend: the choir CAN respond on a higher level if they MUST do so-- I have to trust that, and be willing to force them to do so. I, in turn, freed from so much cheer leading, can do a better, more precise job of delineating line, and of creating a complex atmosphere.
Chorale is not out of the woods, on this one-- I will soon enough remember why it is, that I enter rehearsals as though they were boxing matches; and I will feel helpless to shake them up and galvanize them, short of attaching each singer to a pair of electrodes. But I think I learned, this past weekend, that this is the very site of our growth point,the sine qua non of our continued upward trajectory.