I sing with a men’s ensemble called de Profundis, Latin for Out of the Depths. We have concerts this weekend, which means 3 rehearsals this week. We are 14 singers plus a director who perform a wide variety of music from the renaissance to last week (sometimes even the arrangement of the hour–our director is a composer and arranger), and in a wide variety of languages. This concert, for example, includes an Indian raga, in some language from the Indian subcontinent, a Russian church piece (many of those are Old Slavonic, but this is composed and is actually Russian), a Palestrina piece in Latin, a Schubert piece in German, and a piece in Georgian. We also sing in a variety of venues, and did a preview of some of this repertoire a couple of weeks ago at Ghost Ranch and the Benedictine Monastery “across the road” (“across the road” also includes the 15 miles down the dirt road on the other side). Look here for more about those events.
The language component is an important part of the group’s personality. We live in a Spanish speaking area, so there are many pieces in Spanish. At the winter concert, there is always Hebrew. We have sung Chinese, Japanese, and Tagalog; French and Italian; African languages, Eastern European languages; Inuit and other Native American languages, and, sometimes, even English. Last spring, we went to Wales, so we sang several pieces in Welsh (surprisingly hard). A few years ago, we did a Christmas piece in Slovenian. At intermission, a couple appeared who identified themselves as Slovenian. They said they thought they were the only Slovenes in the city, and they were so grateful to hear their language in an unexpected place.
This concert is about Transformations, one of the most familiar being death. For example, I do not sleep (“Do not stand by my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep…”) by Darryl Lynn Wylie, Sing to me of Heaven by Daniel Gawthrop, Come Sing to Me of Heaven arranged by J. Aaron McDermid, and Loving Kindness by Stephen Paulus, which I wrote about here a few days ago. I found that I resonate strongly with several of them. I even said “I want to hear that at my funeral” a couple of times (not that I am expecting that any time soon).
I have enjoyed preparing this concert. I love the group. I love the music. And, I love presenting the concerts, but this week is very intense, and I will also love being past the concerts.