There were a lot of words. Fortunately they were all in the machzor, which I took with me everywhere and read over and over again. In New York no one gives you a second glance if you're mumbling to yourself in a foreign language on the subway. People will, however, sometimes get up and give you a nice, empty seat immediately to your left or right.
I alternated among the CDs, listening to the same prayers as sung by the cantor and the woman, a member of the congregation (who wouldn't be a service leader this time around--I think she decided to go to a different synagogue). Sometimes the melody was easier to discern from her voice; sometimes I liked the way he sang it better. In a few places they both raced through combinations of notes and glissandi that my vocal chords simply could not duplicate, so I edited them down. I tried to piece together a version of my own combining stylistic touches from them both, and hoped I wasn't violating any important melodic customs in the creation of this pastiche.
hee, hee... sometimes mumbling to one's self can come in very handy!
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