Monday, September 12, 2005

171. The first day

(Continuing. And now, the parts, probably very anticlimactic, that I've been leading up to for eight months.)

I was ready. Everything was set; I had places to go for holiday meals, and all the right clothing. And I knew the music inside out.

Once again I woke up very early, rowed, did some vocal warm-ups, and spent a long time getting dressed so that I wouldn't forget to put on shoes, or something equally ridiculous, in the face of nervous haste. I also wanted to savor every moment of this experience. I walked the 20 blocks to the church, humming my part. I was calm; in many ways this would be easier than leading Shabbat morning services, since it was carefully scripted. I knew exactly what I had to do, and the rotations within each prayer were planned.


In other news, I just learned today that I will, in fact, be leading another part of the service that I don't yet know: Ne'ila, the end of Yom Kippur, when the gates symbolically close (sort of--tradition says that we have until Hoshanah Rabah, another holiday two weeks later, before that final page of the Book is irrevocably typeset). I'll pick up a CD tomorrow from the cantor and start learning, quickly. It's not as long as Shaharit and many of the prayers are the same, with one or two additions. But I think most of the melodies are different, and much more dramatic than the morning service. I am honored beyond words to have been asked to do this. And very nervous.

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