Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Old Email

Here's a copy of an old email that my mom sent, describing for me the time that I was in GECC (Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus....they're not even called that anymore.) when we performed (and rehearsed for) the Bach St. Matthew's Passion with Sir George Solti

Hi Bill, I am not at all sure about what it is you want me to tell you 
since you remember it all clearly yourself. but here goes what I remember 
about You were a little reticent at first when Dad and I 
suggested trying out for the chorus. It was somewhat out of your comfort 
zone, but very much in line with your interests. So, you auditioned, were 
accepted and began 3-4 years of twice-weekly rehearsals for various concerts 
and appearances. When the Symphony opportunity came along, you were 
interested in auditioning for one of the I don't know 15-20 spots as a "Bach 
boy" as you guys were called at GECC. You had extra rehearsals in Glen 
Ellyn(Josh-u-a! Josh-u-a!) and sometime in November, I think, we began 
rehearsals with the Symphony director. Was her name Margaret Hillis? Also, 
what was the name of the rather tall. imposing Oriental(Chinese?) lady from 
the Glen Ellyn chorus? She accompanied us on the bus for all the trips 
downtown. Anyway, I remember the rehearsals in practice or rehearsal room, 
not in the theater itself. And, when Solti came in, as you remember, 
everyone stood, rather reverentially, I thought. He was personable and in 
good spirits, almost casual, until he began the rehearsal. Then, he was 
very businesslike. And, yes, I do remember him singling you out and 
speaking with you briefly. I was behind him and to the side, so I couldn't 
hear exactly what he was saying, but I could tell that he was neither 
correcting you nor angry with you. It was a very pleasant tone that he was 
using. I only heard later from you what the exchange was all about. 
Something about you mouthing the words to the adult part of the score which 
you had inadvertently memorized during all the previous rehearsals. I also 
remember him going over and over the boys' part, saying "We shall do a 
little experimenting here" in his distinctive accent.

I don't think at the time you understood the unique opportunity you were 
experiencing. It was exciting for you, I know, to go down to the city and 
rehearse with an adult chorus, etc. But, the momentousness of performing 
with the Chicago Symphony,Hillis, and Solti, I think, was not part of your 
thoughts then.

I should also mention all the practicing you boys did on your German 
pronunciation. It seemed endless at the time, but worth the effort since 
Solti commented on it and admonished the adult chorus to learn from your 

If I remember more I'll certainly write you. But I've got to go, Jack is 
Love, M