Where Will I Stand for the Concert?

How our choir director John Maclay decides where we will stand at our concerts is a mystery to most of us in the choir. We talk about it from time to time. Since he usually puts me way in the back my working theory is that he hates my voice and wants me as far away from him and the audience as possible. Except there’s always great singers back there too.

A fellow singer told me that John gets a lot of mail from people complaining that they are not in the front. Being in the front is thrilling. You feel like you’re on a stage, like one of the stars. The audience can see you, and so you connect with them more directly. But because of this you also have to watch your every move and expression. You can’t fidget, or frown, or whatever. You can’t just relax and sing. Since I’m fine about not being in the front, maybe that is why I’m so often in the back?

My only preference is to be surrounded by singers. I want singers behind me and on either side of me, so I can be right in the middle of the harmony. When you’re in the very back row or on the end of a row there are fewer singers around you and you just don’t get that same resonance with your fellow singers.

When John puts me in one of those spots I go back to “I have a horrible voice and he puts me here so fewer people will have to hear me and endure my voice.” I don’t mind being put there sometimes. Someone has to have the least desired spots and I don’t mind taking my turn. But now that I think of it, I’ve ended up there a few times, and with 150 people in the choir, one turn should be enough. He does hate my voice!!

So we shall see where John puts me this time. I should know by Tuesday. Or Thursday. Last year he didn’t tell us until the last minute. Maybe so he had fewer days to get complaints?

The Christmas trees are here! I’m going to get a wreath, I’ve decided. But I’m going to wait until this cold I have is gone though, so I can smell it.

Christmas Tree Stand, New York City

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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