Barb Szabo's Blog: January 2011

The Assumption Music Ministry in Broadview Heights Ohio Wants You!!

assumption choir broadview heights ohio assumption choir broadview heights ohio assumption choir broadview heights ohio

My husband and I have been a part of the Assumption Music Ministry for 20 years. Our daughter Erin joined at about age 14. The members are some of the nicest you will ever meet and we consider them  our second family.

We have seen each other through marriages, births, deaths and so much more.
We are always looking for new members, age 14 and older. If you think you can carry a tune then please consider joining the Assumption Adult choir. We rehearse on Thursday evenings at 7:00p.m. and minister regularly at the 10:30a.m. Mass on Sundays, except in the summer. We often sing on Holy Days and special Masses such as anniversary Masses for the religious.

Below is a favorite of mine: A little long but hilarious is you are or ever were a singer in a choir.

SATB: The Whole Truth

In any chorus, there are four voice parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and
bass. Sometimes these are divided into first and second within each
part, prompting endless jokes about first and second basses. There are
also various other parts such as baritone, countertenor, contralto,
mezzo soprano, etc., but these are mostly used by people who are either
soloists, or belong to some excessively hotshot classical a cappella
group (this applies especially to countertenors), or are trying to make
excuses for not really fitting into any of the regular voice parts, so
we will ignore them for now. Each voice part sings in a different range,
and each one has a very different personality. You may ask, "Why should
singing different notes make people act differently?", and indeed this
is a mysterious question and has not been adequately studied, especially
since scientists who study musicians tend to be musicians themselves and
have all the peculiar complexes that go with being tenors, french horn
players, timpanists, or whatever. However, this is beside the point; the
fact remains that the four voice parts can be easily distinguished, and
I will now explain how.

THE SOPRANOS are the ones who sing the highest, and because of this they
think they rule the world. They have longer hair, fancier jewelery, and
swishier skirts than anyone else, and they consider themselves insulted
if they are not allowed to go at least to a high F in every movement of
any given piece. When they reach the high notes, they hold them for at
least half again as long as the composer and/or conductor requires, and
then complain that their throats are killing them and that the composer
and conductor are sadists. Sopranos have varied attitudes toward the
other sections of the chorus, though they consider all of them inferior.
Altos are to sopranos rather like second violins to first violins --
nice to harmonize with, but not really necessary. All sopranos have a
secret feeling that the altos could drop out and the piece would sound
essentially the same, and they don't understand why anybody would sing
in that range in the first place - it's so boring. Tenors, on the other
hand, can be very nice to have around; besides their flirtation
possibilities (it is a well-known fact that sopranos never flirt with
basses), sopranos like to sing duets with tenors because all the tenors
are doing is working very hard to sing in a low-to-medium soprano range,
while the sopranos are up there in the stratosphere showing off. To
sopranos, basses are the scum of he earth - they sing too loud, are
useless to tune to because they're down in that low, low range and there
has to be something wrong with anyone who sings in the F clef, anyway
(although while they swoon while the tenors sing, they still end up
going home with the basses).

THE ALTOS are the salt of the earth - in their opinion, at least. Altos
are unassuming people, who would wear jeans to concerts if they were
allowed to. Altos are in a unique position in the chorus in that they
are unable to complain about having to sing either very high or very
low, and they know that all the other sections think their parts are
pitifully easy. But the altos know otherwise. They know that while the
sopranos are screeching away on a high A, they are being forced to sing
elaborate passages full of sharps and flats and tricks of rhythm, and
nobody is noticing because the sopranos are singing too loud (and the
basses usually are, too). Altos get a deep, secret pleasure out of
conspiring together to tune the sopranos flat. Altos have an innate
distrust of tenors, because the tenors sing in almost the same range and
think they sound better. They like the basses, and enjoy singing duets
with them - the basses just sound like a rumble anyway, and it's the
only time the altos can really be heard. Altos' other complaint is that
there are always too many of them and so they never get to sing really

THE TENORS are spoiled. That's all there is to it. For one thing, there
are never enough of them, and choir directors would rather sell their
souls than let a halfway decent tenor quit, while they're always ready
to unload a few altos at half price. And then, for some reason, the few
tenors there are are always really good - it's one of those annoying
facts of life. So it's no wonder that tenors always get swollen heads
after all, who else can make sopranos swoon? The one thing that can make
tenors insecure is the accusation (usually by the basses) that anyone
singing that high couldn't possibly be a real man. In their usual
perverse fashion, the tenors never acknowledge this, but just complain
louder about the composer being a sadist and making them sing so damn
high. Tenors have a love-hate relationship with the conductor, too,
because the conductor is always telling them to sing louder because
there are so few of them. No conductor in recorded history has ever
asked for less tenor in a forte passage. Tenors feel threatened in some
way by all the other sections - the sopranos because they can hit those
incredibly high notes; the altos because they have no trouble singing
the notes the tenors kill themselves for; and the basses because,
although they can't sing anything above an E, they sing it loud enough
to drown the tenors out. Of course, the tenors would rather die than
admit any of this. It is a little-known fact that tenors move their
eyebrows more than anyone else while singing.

THE BASSES sing the lowest of anybody. This basically explains
everything. They are stolid, dependable people, and have more facial
hair than anybody else. The basses feel perpetually unappreciated, but
they have a deep conviction that they are actually the most important
part (a view endorsed by musicologists, but certainly not by sopranos or
tenors), despite the fact that they have the most boring part of anybody
and often sing the same note (or in endless fifths) for an entire page.
They compensate for this by singing as loudly as they can get away with
- most basses are tuba players at heart. Basses are the only section
that can regularly complain about how low their part is, and they make
horrible faces when trying to hit very low notes. Basses are charitable
people, but their charity does not extend so far as tenors, whom they
consider effete poseurs. Basses hate tuning the tenors more than almost
anything else. Basses like altos - except when they have duets and the
altos get the good part. As for the sopranos, they are simply in an
alternate universe, which the basses don't understand at all. They can't
imagine why anybody would ever want to sing that high and sound that bad when they make mistakes. When a bass makes a mistake, the other three parts will cover him, and he can continue on his merry way, knowingthat sometime, somehow, he will end up at the root of the chord.


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Comment balloon 0 commentsBarb Szabo, CRS • January 30 2011 04:49PM
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