I'm sorry I read the GA schedule last night. I electronically searched the document to remind myself when the CLF worship service would be held. That led me to the page where all of Sunday's events are listed by title only, under the appropriate time. There, just a few lines away from the worship service I look forward to ALL YEAR, was this ominous line: "GA Choir Rehearsal V."
ARRRRRRGH! Choir conflicts with Worship!?! Skipping this rehearsal is not an option: it is the dress rehearsal for the concert and with only 5 practices anyway, the need for all members to attend all rehearsals is intense. There is simply no way to do both.
I knew that the rehearsal schedule had been changed significantly, probably in response to choir members who complained of other conflicts. I've heard many choir members regret that rehearsals overlap many of the program time slots. This year, it looks like most of the rehearsals are in a stand-alone time slot. That would be great, except for a couple things.
1) That stand-alone time slot is during DINNER. That's right, three of the five rehearsals are stuffed between afternoon program/plenary and big evening events. So, if you sing, you can't eat. More importantly, the opportunity to socialize over dinner with friends I see only once a year is gone.
2) The stand-alone time slot for the concert is during LUNCH on Sunday. Again, when will the choir members eat? Our last rehearsal is immediately before the concert. Final plenary is immediately afterwards.
While I'm at it, I think moving the choir's performance from Closing Ceremony to a special concert time (at a lousy time) just plain sucks. Being part of Closing Ceremony is a huge, huge part of the spiritual practice of singing for me. I sing in church to WORSHIP, not to perform. And while choral music enhances a service, choral music alone is an acquired taste. I suspect that the hard work of 160 people will be heard by only a few (and they'll be hungry!)
Living on the road full-time as we do, GA is my once-a-year chance to be part of a choral group. We simply aren't anywhere long enough for me to commit to enough rehearsals otherwise. Likewise, it is our once-a-year time to attend "our" church service, CLF.
Having to choose between the two has literally made me sick to my stomach. An option I considered (briefly) was to skip GA altogether. I know many people come to GA and find they can't attend some events because of conflicts, but choir is a huge commitment. 5 rehearsals plus concert/ceremony; miss one and you're out (there is a waiting list of others who promise to attend them all.) My question is: should it be my ONLY commitment at GA?
Choir or CLF worship?
Choir or social dinners?
Choir or food?