Musings on my musical meanderings

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My post yesterday on my first season at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival got me to thinking about how I ended up singing with Madrigalia Bar Nonne. That brought up thoughts about other musical groups I have sung with, and a lot of colored history floated through my mind.

This type of history isn’t easy to write about. So much of it is constructed memory. Much of the rest of it is close and personal enough, that to share it risks making one seem whiney or self-centered. Some of the comments may seem critical of others, and one shouldn’t, of course, offend others in a public forum.

Yet with all those minefields to traverse, I will still try to paint an honest reflection of the history I am going to recount.

When I first moved to the Kansas City area, my sister-in-law was singing with the Fine Arts Chorale, and invited me to try out and join it. So I did. A year or so later, she ceased singing with the group, but I was still there.

In the tenor section with me was Lee Fenwick. He mentioned that he also sang with Madrigalia Bar Nonne, and would I be interested in trying out. So I did.

For awhile I sang with both groups. It was around the time that we were moving into our first house in 2000 that I decided to leave the Fine Arts Chorale, despite enjoying the music that I got to perform.

We were moving into our first house, and I was shopping around for a piano to buy. I was at a special weekend rehearsal and got talking with the assistant director. While talking I mentioned moving into our first house and trying to find a piano. This led to a half hour conversation, examination of nearby pianos and suggestions for how to select a good one.

The next Tuesday at rehearsal, he made a special announcement about someone moving into their first house and how it might be nice to help them, give them a bottle of wine as a house-warming gift, etc. The person he mentioned wasn’t me.

It wasn’t that I wanted a bottle of wine — it was that I was invisible. It was fine to mention someone else, but to not mention me, after the extended conversation we had had about moving and pianos, showed I was invisible.

At that point I realized I just didn’t fit into the social circle of the Fine Arts Chorale. I fit musically, but socially I was non-existent. And since I wasn’t a social climber, there was no real reason for me to stay and experience that sort of invisibility.

The same year I joined Madrigalia Bar Nonne another person from my neck of the woods, Peggy Chilson, joined. It took a couple of years for us to realize that we grew up in the same area, and had even attended the same church for awhile.

We are both still in Madrigalia, where I fit well, both musically and socially. Peggy joined Fine Arts Chorale and over the years tried to encourage me to join back up again, until the group disbanded recently. I was never able to adequately explain to her why I didn’t go back.I always appreciated and enjoyed the music I got to perform, but even I can eventually tell when I am really not wanted, only a technical, not actual part of the group.

And so my musings end for today.

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