The behind-the-scenes "making of" documentary essay series about preparing songs for performance.
The process of preparing a song for public performance is a long one. The Sounds of Indiana chorus has a very broad membership base, from novice singers to doctoral students in music, some who read music and some who sing solely by ear. It’s a hobby for most of us; no previous experience in music or musicianship is required to join the group, although of course it doesn’t hurt.
Many months (hopefully!) ahead of a concert, we look at a song and begin learning the notes and words. Some people, like myself, learn more visually by reading the chart (as we call the sheet music), while some learn more aurally by listening to recorded learning tracks. Once the music is in place in our heads, or at least mostly so, we start working on the emotions behind it, turning the printed music into a story that can be shared with our audience.
In this space, I will be sharing some reflections, possibly verging on essays, regarding various interpretations for the songs performed by the Sounds of Indiana chorus. Every week, I’ll present some background on one of our songs, including extracts from our actual show scripts, and then delve into the lyrics and music. Think of this series as similar to the “making of” short documentaries included on some DVDs: it will share a “behind the scenes” view of how the chorus prepares our music for presentation, exploring and examining the meaning, the story, behind the words and notes.
Then again, this is also a personal project. As some DVD audio-commentaries forewarn, “The views and opinions expressed by this commentator are not necessarily the same as those of the other producers of this product.” We may discuss these points as a group during our weekly rehearsals, but each singer, like any performer, puts his own feelings into a song based on his own particular experiences.
That said, I suppose I should introduce myself! My name is Andy Fak, and I’m the current president of the SoI chorus (formerly Vice President of Music, formerly Vice President of Programming). I’ve been a lifelong musician, starting with the organ at seven years old, then picking up cello in 3rd grade, bass clarinet in 5th, and accordion and handbells in high school. My first official vocal training was not until college, although my dad was a member of several barbershop quartets when my brother and I were young, exposing us early to this unique style of music.
I started singing with SoI in the fall of 2013, shortly after graduating from Indiana University, and was the youngest member of the group until a then-senior in high school joined us in the spring of 2018. I’m also an amateur arranger; I’ve collaborated on one chart alongside our director and moved on to one on my own so far, hopefully with more on the way. An original composition is also in the works, though with a release date well into the future. ;)
You’ll probably learn more about me as I discuss these songs and the feelings behind them, so let’s get on to that part of things. I hope you enjoy what you find here.
October 21, 2018