At the start of last night's rehearsal of the public domain, our strand leader, Maria Sensi Sellner, said that her goal was to run through the entire piece twice in the three hours we had allotted. As it turned out, that was far too ambitious a goal, given that we had several newcomers who were still learning the movements taught to us during our last rehearsal with Annie-B Parson. Even for the rest of us, there's still a good amount of awkwardness to overcome, trying to stay on pitch and in tempo while following the designated movements, the timing of which aren't all pre-determined. Fortunately, dance captain Lizzie Dement was on hand to guide us through the changes, pointing out when to move and when to stand still, how to raise and lower our hands, whether or not we should place our hands on audience members during the penultimate section. (Answer: no.)
Maria assigned each of us to one of five groups within the strand, which she compared to pieces of pepperoni on a slice of pizza. (I've always wanted to be a slice of processed meat.) Our group leader, Ana, has a fair amount of responsibility, introducing pitches, signaling when to crescendo or decrescendo, even determining at times the text we're going to sing or speak. For most of the performance, we'll be laser-focused on her, though Simon Halsey - who will be present at the next rehearsal - will ultimately determine the overall pace of the performance. It's still a bit murky how it's all going to come together: even with just 150 of us, it's nearly impossible to follow directions through all of the clapping and shouting. But, the leaders all seem to have an implicit sense that it will, which is good enough for me.
For all of you latecomers, there's still time to hop on board the Orange and Yellow strands - especially if you're a tenor or bass! But, you'll have to attend the intensive singer sessions tonight at St. Patrick's Basilica in NoLiTa, and Sunday at Riverside Church in Harlem. Register asap on the public domain website.