You might be a choir nerd if:

you have strong preferences about editions of certain compositions.

you once threatened someone with bodily dismemberment if they dared touch your full-score Schirmer edition of The Messiah.

someone on the second row asks, “Maestro; ecclesiastical, American, or German?” and it makes perfect sense.*

you have muttered under your breath, “That’s now how we sang this the last time.” The last time was, um, 2005, and 1985, at least with this particular choir.

you have a favorite requiem mass. And you are not Catholic.

you know the Pater Noster, two Credos, the Sanctus, Kyrie, and several other liturgical prayers . . . and you are not Catholic. Or Christian.

certain keys inspire uncharitable thoughts from your choir. (I sang in a choir that could not sing in tune acapella in E natural. We loved A flat and never lost or gained pitch. Drove the conductor crazy.)

you hear a chord from the accompaniment one half beat before your entrance and can do the entire rest of the composition from memory. (“The Majesty and Glory” by Fettke, and “Sanctus” and “In Paradisum” from the Faure Requiem, among others.)

you chant along with the “Dies Irae” . . . when it is used in movie music or rock compositions.

you have preferred settings of the “Dies Irae,” and “Ubi Caritas et Amor,” among other chants.

you have strong opinions about performance black dress options, or which tuxedo is best for singing in.

*Latin pronunciation. I have done all three, and there are differences. Not as stark as between Latin and modern Italian, but you can hear the differences if you listen carefully.


9 thoughts on “You might be a choir nerd if:

  1. Coffee spew! Wife just maxed out the scoring. One of her scores was autographed by the eminent conductor they performed for.

    • Oops – correction to last. Your list is incomplete, but wife sang in the chorus of a Tier 1 orchestra:

      Strong opinions about shade of performance white.

      Schirmer is apparently the worst edition of “The Messiah”, so she wouldn’t mind using it as a bludgeon for the other points.

      • I probably should add “you have a life-list of Great Conductors you have sung/trained under.” Craig Jessop, Simon Carrington . . .

        • Yep – she had a list of those, including Maestro Shaw. He snuck in the back of one chorus rehearsal, surprising everyone (including their choral master). Just smiled and waved them on, said he was listening and enjoying the music and sound structure. He then made wonders from this, in dress rehearsal and performances.

  2. I’m only partly a choir nerd. (I can read music, but not fluently.) I have caught a few typos on occasion. Like the altos getting a quarter-note more in a measure than everyone else did (and we deserve it, too!), or the one line (which didn’t actually change pronunciation) where “Jesus has one eternity” when they obviously meant “Jesus has won eternity”.

    Mostly though, I just get really upset when they change the words to make them more politically correct, and ruin the metaphors.

  3. Andddd… you completely lost me… but I’m deaf anyway… Amazed at your ability to sing, along with a couple of other friends. I just wish it was in a range (bass) that I could actually HEAR… sigh

  4. A flat is a great key for male chorus. Usually no more than a reasonably comfortable B flat on top.

  5. You may be a chorus nerd if you have a favorite conductors/orchestras for choral pieces. My favorite is the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (and Chorus) directed by Shaw. I love the ASO Messiah recording for its magnificent choral performances. The soloists are OK but the choruses are crisp and beautiful. I actually got to hear Handel and Hayden Society perform Messiah conducted by Christopher Hogwood (a while ago) in Boston’s Symphony hall. The performance was meh. Lovely period informed performance by the instruments, 25-30 first rate vocalists for the choir, but they weren’t a choir they were 25-30 first rate soloists doing their thing. Probably because Handel and Hayden does SO many Messiah performances at Christmas time that the singers were just bored out of their head making their money for the day.

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