The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Years of Practice Just for the Moment

Daily Tour Diary 8

By Sheila and Jeff Favero

Have you heard the adage, "How do you get to Carnegie?" 

The first answer is “Practice, Practice, Practice.”  For the Mormon Tabernacle Choir now in on tour in New York it also means walking ten blocks first for the sound check in the afternoon and again for the concert—in full wardrobe. For me, as part of Staging and Production for the Choir,the day began at 7 am in the morning working with John, Phil, Ferris, Jimmy, Danny and others of Local One, the premier stagehand union of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) and what a pleasure, indeed.  The load-in was accomplished while sharing staging stories, cultural nuances and ultimately discovering a shared Italian heritage with several Carnegie crew. Thanks to my new friends for introducing me to Carnegie Joe, a Zaggot rated street food vendor and enlightening me on the finer points of union labor to which I responded by answering dental questions (I’m a dentist when not volunteering with the Choir) and extending an invitation to visit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City on their next trip West.

As performers, quite often we were “discovered” at a young age and taught to sing, play or dance through years of practice.  Like small trained seals, we were given praise and small treats (thankfully not fish!) We stood on chairs and learned to bow. Most often our reward was applause. As a Soprano with the choir since 2002, I have witnessed hundreds of ovations and can’t sleep for hours after returning home! Singing for almost a full hour before intermission, planned as a presentation without applause, for my Carnegie Hall debut could have been a challenge.  Where would that energy come from that usually flows so freely from the audience? I watched Dr. Wilberg more intently and stayed focused without the interruptions of clapping. I became more “in tune” (figuratively and literally) with those voices surrounding me. And ultimately, I prayed. The experience became sacred. The warm response at the end of the first half let me know the audience felt something special, as well.  Was singing tonight in this fabulous historic hall worth all those hours of rehearsal and years of practice.  YES!