Our performance with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra went very well. There was an hour and a half of music before we took our places at the front of Christ Chapel in St. Peter, so the room and the audience had been gorgeously primed.
There were nerves, of course, and some last-minute wardrobe adjustments (like pinning part of a $12.99 yard of black velvet to the back of my dress to cover some unmentionables). But The Voxes Three calibrated by humming and warming up together and we were ready.
We began with Monteverdi's "Ave Maria" and the crowd hushed.
The woman in the front row started to get tears in her eyes, and I had to look away.
"Sweet, Exclude Me Not" (a kind of racy love song for such an elegant concert)
was so lovely with Jim McGuire's accompaniment.
The Bach-Gounod "Ave Maria" was gorgeous
with David Fienen's accompaniment on the harpsichord.
My prayers to the Gods of the G Above High C
were answered, and I hit that note like never before.
Here I am dramatically acting out a line from the catch "The Thirsty Vampires"
about vampires leaving their coffins and sucking poor morals dry.
(Never fear, the song is really about wine.)
Everything else went so smoothly. Three happy and proud Voxes unpinned their black velvet and went to Richard's Restaurant and Pub for some celebratory wine (because more things should be about wine than songs) and proceeded to talk about, of all things, medieval music. We "went for Baroque" well enough. There is a return to chant and early polyphony in our near future now.
I was out for a run when my mom called me (carrying my cell phone and my inhaler whenever I exercise is a necessary evil since I developed asthma). I asked what was going on out at the Kortuem Estate and she said my brother had come in with a huge batch of fresh morel mushrooms.
I turned around and immediately ran back home to get my car keys. I arrived at their place just in time to see my brother begin his specialty.
Morels are notoriously hard to find in the woods. I've known the most capable of hunters and outdoorsmen to go morel hunting with my brother, and he always out-gathers them. Special eyes, he says. Super-morel vision.
(Don't judge him for his t-shirt. I gave it to him for Christmas.)
In their natural state, morels are a healthy delicacy. But doctored up with the secret Jeff Kortuem recipe, they're danged near instant artery cloggers. And that's what makes them so good.
This part isn't a secret, though.
And this is just for the first batch...ahem.
The result? Plates full of golden brown, crispy coated morel morsels.
I don't even want to know how much I devoured. But I do know that I'll be out running again tomorrow to wear them off.
Mom and I (and her dogs) spent the day together,
stretched out watching movies.
"Julie & Julia" made us laugh until we cried.
"The Blind Side" just made us cry. And cry and cry.
Then Mom surprised me with some crepes she had made from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" cookbook. And then I surprised her with a French yogurt cake I'd made her, topped with real whipped cream and fresh blackberries.
While Ann was in Africa on sabbatical, Sara and I were such good little Voxes. We got together, rehearsed our parts and tried not to giggle too much during those awkward, empty spaces when Ann would be singing.
Ann's (finally) home.
Evidence: three music stands and no more empty spaces to count through.
We're rehearsing intensely for our performance with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra's "Go For Baroque" concert on May 16th. Yes, Baroque music. It's been a stretch for us, since our focus for three years has been Medieval music, but it's been a good challenge. Sara searched out some wonderful pieces for us to perform that, while definitely of the Baroque period, still have some whispers of our familiar Medieval cadences, dissonances and nearly melismatic runs. We've each had to learn something — I, for instance, have a couple of trills and a few high notes that had me worried but I think they're sufficiently tackled.
We're performing in Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College (where the photo above was taken). It's a space meant for singing in, and during our rehearsal there it was so interesting to hear how our voices blended and stood out and raced toward the ceiling and then filtered down to the pews. It took some getting used to, but by the end of the few hours we spent there, we really felt like we'd made peace with our three voices and that huge space.
We're so fortunate to be able to collaborate with some incredible musicians on a few of our pieces.
Jim McGuire put aside his jazz guitar to provide
a very lute-like accompaniment on "Sweet, Exclude Me Not."
And David Fienen stepped down from the magnificent organ
in Christ Chapel to accompany "Maria Magdalena"
on the little portative organ — it's the perfect sound.
We have a few more rehearsals in the kitchen to go, and then The Voxes Three will be ready to step onto a stage of a very different kind. New opportunities are good.