30 June 2012

Ode to a Choral Diva

Even though it's been a couple of weeks since my choral group has sung together, for some random reason this little ditty started playing in my head earlier today.  It's in honor of one of the sopranos in our group.  I've not had much interaction with her personally, simply because I usually sit in the back row while she sits in the front row; also, I'm still getting to know people and names.  So up till now, she hasn't bothered me much one way or the other.  This summer, however, we've been working on more fun pieces for an annual fundraiser.  So instead of the usual classical sorts of pieces that we perform in the spring and fall, we're doing a show with all old-school Las Vegas-themed songs.  So it should be fun and entertaining, right?  Well, you'd think.  But ever since we started rehearsing, the soprano in question has felt the need to "correct" someone on something every. single. week.  I'll give the woman props; she does have a nice-enough voice and clearly knows what she's doing most of the time.  But that doesn't make her the director, nor does it make her the music police, which is how she's been acting all summer.  Week after week I've watched her lean over to "instruct" her neighbors on what they need to fix as though that were somehow her job.  Every week I've watched her get tense and pissy when things aren't perfect, in spite of the fact that it's still a month or two from actual performances.  Of course we want to improve week by week, but these are still rehearsals, for crying out loud.  The point of rehearsals is to learn and to improve, particularly early on, not to be Mormon Tabernacle Choir-ready seconds after sight-reading a new piece.

Besides, this is not a chamber ensemble, or even an audition choir.  There is a wide range of abilities and experience in this group, and it is unreasonable to expect everyone to be at the same level of competence at the same time.  It simply is not the woman's place to be telling everyone else what to do or what not to do, particularly when she herself is not above making the occasional mistake.  Needless to say, I particularly enjoyed watching her get busted a week or two ago when she was whining that the sopranos were all sharp.  She felt the need to tell us so by waving her upturned thump in the air so we'd all know how egregiously we were offending her sense of pitch.  The director called her on it, telling her that he knew we were sharp, but that it was also his job to tell us so.  SCORE!!  (Didn't stop her from whining that we were hurting her ears, but whatevs.)

So, in honor of our resident diva-wannabe, I offer the following little send-up:
(Sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad")

I've been sitting near a Diva,
Every Tuesday night.
I've been sitting near a Diva
Who thinks she is always right.

Every week she corrects someone;
And she tells them what they did "wrong."
Every week she acts all snotty
While we sing our songs.

Diva rolls her eyes,
Diva makes a face,
Diva acts so put upo-o-on.
Diva says you're sharp,
Diva says you're flat,
Diva says you held too long.

Someone thinks she's God's gift to music,
Someone thinks Director needs he-e-e-elp.
Someone doesn't know it's rehearsal,
Someone needs a Val-i-um.

Singin' "Oh, please, get over yourself,
Please take the stick...out of your backside.
Please...get..over yourself,
'Cuz you're not perfect, either."

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