Monday, June 25, 2007

“The Quest for the 4th” – The Conclusion?

Yes, I think it may be! Finally, a happy ending to a long, arduous, tedious tome of seemingly epic length. Coda Honor has found it's 4th!

The enigmatic bass that I referred to in my last blog – the one who was referred to me by our chorus's membership chairman – is an absolutely ideal fit! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Coda Honor's newest member – Dave Conrad!

I had spoken with him a few days earlier on the phone and gotten his credentials:

Singing since he was knee-high to nothin'
Former member of the Huron Valley Chorus
Bass section leader of the Langsford Men's Chorus
Musical theater background
Experience in several quartets

And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Could this be real? Can the guy be this good? We've had such a HELL of a time finding someone…ANYONE…who adequately fill either bass or baritone, could the answer to our prayer just fall from the sky like this? I was skeptical.

We had our quartet rehearsal yesterday evening at our baritone and resident music guru, Dave Beamer's house. I got there just about on time and Dave C. was already there chatting it up with our High Priest of musical knowledge. Lou arrived fashionably late, as usual. Not late enough for us to be annoyed, but late enough for us to ask "where is he?"

We immediately headed to Dave B.'s office upon his arrival and asked Dave C. what he could dust the cobwebs off of to warm up on.

"Wild Irish Rose"

Ugh. Standard, typical, a bit overdone, but not a bad song and has some room for good, ringing chords.

We sang through it a bit slowly, just to make sure things were locking, and BOY HOWDY, DID THEY EVER! We finished the last chord and I literally collapsed to the floor with a big shit-eatin' grin on my face.

From there, we decided to step it up a notch and try a few things from the vaults. Dave C. mentioned that he did "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" a while back, so I dug the sheet out from my collection of old chorus material. We had done it in the chorus in last year's show, but hadn't touched it since. We worked through it, and most if it was pure gold. Dave B. was reading it for the first time and made an occasional mistake, but nothing major. The bridge does a bizarre modulation we didn't all get quite right, but we recovered for the end and it was amazing for a read-through! The biggest problem Dave B and I had was getting distracted. We had both become so used to listening for wrong notes to fix, we started screwin up our OWN parts! Trouble was - there wasn't anything to fix (at least not on that level). We had to constantly remind ourselves to just SING OUR OWN DAMN PART AND STOP WORRYING!

From there we took a break for water and a breather. After getting back, we decided that we needed to try something that would shake the rafters. Something with a killer tag that belts like nobody's business.
"Darkness on the Delta" – no question.

We did it a few times – each one getting better and louder.

After that, we read down a few of our quartet's standards and stuff the 3 of us had been working on for a bit: Irish Blessing, my rendition of Rainbow Connection, etc. From there we chatted a bit before calling it a wonderful and productive day.

With Dave Conrad on bass, we have the best of all worlds. He not only has a great sound, great ear, and is a quick learner, but with his barbershop experience and background, we have a built-in repertoire of polecats and standards we can expand on quickly. Since he's not in the chorus and has no plans to join (for a variety of good reasons), we won't be tempted to rest on our laurels and just do chorus songs, but if there are ones we like from the chorus, we can add them in quickly and easily.

He's a bit nervous about making too much of a commitment right now because his schedule is in a bit of a precarious state. We assured him that we're all (well, Dave B.'s a bit more free and stable) flying by the seat of our pants with time nowadays and we're used to finagling around busy schedules to find a couple hours to get together. Working around his schedule won't be any more than we usually do, anyway. His personality and direction is a perfect match for us. He's funny, laid-back, eager to try new things, and wants a light-hearted but quality approach to quartetting.

This could finally be it.

No comments: