Two or three years ago, they stopped singing "U'vechen" in unison and instead rotated the five verses between them, one singer per verse. I hadn't heard this version until I listened to the CDs of the previous year's service--during which I was at another synagogue--and, although amazed that I'd get a chance to sing it at all, missed the powerful effect of multiple voices. But, unless you're in perfect synch, convincing unison is hard to pull off. (In one very fast part the rabbis even added an extra word not in the machzor, which no one told me about and I only picked up after listening to the recording a dozen times. Why? I asked. Oh, because that's how we've always done it.) So the new way made sense, especially with people leading services who hadn't sung with the rabbis before. But I wished we could do it the old way.
This slight discontent, however, barely registered on my larger scale of astonishment at what I would get to do. I would lead the morning blessings in their gentle, soaring holiday melody (for real, this time, and not in front of my bedroom mirror). And I would end the section of introductory psalms, right before the Shema, with a song on the word "HaMelech"--the King--just that word, by myself, my voice standing in on behalf of everyone else who needed to pray.