For the non-musicians out there, let me explain what this is like. Imagine that you have flown into a city and have rented a car. You get in the car and start to drive. You have directions, but you have to be on the lookout for signs and lights and must-exit lanes and left-turn-only lanes and one way streets in the wrong direction and why don't they have any street signs around here? (Let's imagine you're driving a rental car in Boston, where they don't believe in identifying roads.) And you have to do it at highway speed, or, in the case of Boston, much faster.
Now you have a decent idea of what, in musician lingo, is called "sight reading." Now, most of the "sightreading" I was doing was at what we call "performance tempo," which is musician lingo for "110 miles per hour."
Now usually, I can sightread just fine, but this group is mostly professional singers, as in they went to college and majored in voice. I did not. I majored in
Tomorrow we're singing a world premiere piece for the fifth anniversary of September 11th. The music is very beautiful, and I think it will be very moving. And to keep from making some kind of embarrassing musical flub that will destroy the effect, I'll be the one in the front row, silently opening and closing her mouth like a goldfish.