Author Topic: I don't want to perform with you... Update post 18  (Read 5798 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2310
I don't want to perform with you... Update post 18
« on: December 03, 2012, 10:39:12 PM »
'Tis the season for holiday concerts, and as a church musician, that means much preparation for the Advent and Christmas seasons.

The various choirs (we have three of them) at my church are preparing a combined concert.  As a prelude, a member of one choir (a group with whom I have never sung) is preparing a particular tune.  In years past, I have sung this tune as a solo piece.  I usually perform it after the "Midnight" service on Christmas Eve, and I have even been asked to perform this piece in other venues including a wind ensemble concert.  Needless to say, this particular piece is very important to me.

As much as I enjoy performing this piece, I recognize that it is not mine, and I certainly won't stand in the way of others performing it.  However, the people performing this piece at this year's concert have asked me to sing it as a duet.  Initially, I accepted, but now I'm having some pretty significant issues with their interpretation of the piece.  I strongly disagree with the musical interpretation and stylistic choices they want to make with the piece.  Also, I feel that the other singer has not put in the work to be at the same musical level in this piece as I am.  It's not due to any lack of talent on her part, but she isn't accustomed to singing in a classical style (she's more of a rock/gospel singer) and she most certainly hasn't put in the time to prepare.

I've decided that if I'm going to perform this piece, I'm want to do so in the way I feel it should be performed.  Because of that, I don't know if I can continue to be involved with it as a duet.

My question: Am I being a complete SS, or do my feelings here make some sense??

« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 11:10:51 PM by MrTango »

SPuck

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 978
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 10:45:55 PM »
Is the difference in the stylistic choice something like sing high versus low or are they trying to do something like turn a blues song into techno pop?

diesel_darlin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1072
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 10:47:21 PM »
In my opinion, you are not being an SS. If you are not comfortable with the new direction of a song that you hold dear, you are not going to enjoy singing it. The members of your church are going to notice that you are not enjoying yourself. I agree that they have a right to change/do what they want with the song, but you also have a right to do the song the way you love doing it.

GSNW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 553
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 10:50:28 PM »
I can sort of see both sides.  A church Christmas program isn't, in my mind, a professional sort of concert.  That's in MY opinion, so following that, I think you could easily take the view that this is or the celebration of the holiday and work for a compromise on how it could be done in this case.

On the other hand, I'm not a musician and it might be very wrong of me to consider this sort of performance not as "serious" as, say, a formal concert.  If you have strong objections that are making you very uncomfortable, perhaps you have no choice.  It seems like something you should be able to enjoy, and should not feel obligated if you do not enjoy it.

Be honest with your partner here and seek some middle ground. 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 10:52:22 PM by GSNW »

MrTango

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2310
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 10:53:20 PM »
Is the difference in the stylistic choice something like sing high versus low or are they trying to do something like turn a blues song into techno pop?

Imagine Luciano Pavarotti trying to sing Elvis' "Blue Christmas" or Elvis trying to sing "Gesu Bambino"

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2175
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 10:59:15 PM »
You are not a SS at all, just an artist with a different style than the other singer.  It's even possible that some of the others have noticed that your voices/styles are not blending well together.

I think that you are fully justified in saying something like......

I have really enjoyed our practices together, but this is not working out.  Our styles are too different, and we just aren't blending well together.  I'm going to bow out and give XXXXX a chance to perform this as a solo, since I have done it so much in the past.  Thank you so much for thinking of me - perhaps we can collaborate sometime in the future.

RegionMom

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6240
  • ♪♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪♫ ♪ ♪♪♫ ♪♫ ♪♫
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 11:14:54 PM »
pod to doodle's response.

Each musician has their own style, and that phrasing sounds gracious, esp. by offering them the solo.

And, hey, frees up some rehearsal time for you, right?
 :D
Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5169
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 11:32:34 PM »
You are not a SS at all, just an artist with a different style than the other singer.  It's even possible that some of the others have noticed that your voices/styles are not blending well together.

I think that you are fully justified in saying something like......

I have really enjoyed our practices together, but this is not working out.  Our styles are too different, and we just aren't blending well together.  I'm going to bow out and give XXXXX a chance to perform this as a solo, since I have done it so much in the past.  Thank you so much for thinking of me - perhaps we can collaborate sometime in the future.

For the win!  I think this wording is perfect and the exact thing you should do.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11664
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2012, 12:46:24 AM »
It sounds like their interpretation of "let's work together" means "let's do it my way and you can sing along."  It also sounds like even if they had been willing to listen to your suggestions, they might not have the musical range to even be able to do it the way you're used to. 

Is this "duet" something where you have different parts, are you trying to sing in unison?  If it's unison, I think you can bow out free and clear.  If it's a duet but the other singer essentially has the melody, and you know there are solo versions available, you can still bow out but it will take more diplomacy.  If it's a true duet and they're counting on your voice, though, I think you really ought to stick it out.  If that's the case, you can also insist on being more assertive about making it a collaborative effort instead of just the way they want to do it.

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1376
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2012, 01:36:20 AM »
I can see it both ways. I think it's absolutely fine to not want to do something that you are uncomfortable with for whatever reason. However, I think that if you were to voice some of your feelings, you would come across as a "my way or the highway" type, which you obviously don't want to do. (From what I can read, it sounds like you both have pretty strong ideas about how the piece *should* be performed and neither of you really wants to entertain the possibility of doing it another way.)

I absolutely understand having a strong emotional connection to a piece (to anything, really), and I understand not wanting to do something that you feel lessens is power or significance. That said, I don't think you can fairly insist on doing the piece yourself. Even though this isn't the case, I think it will come across as you wanting to "own" the piece.

Doodle has the perfect solution. I think you should bow out. Even if the arrangement is supposed to be a duet, I think there is enough time for the other singer to find another partner.

JoieGirl7

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7327
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2012, 01:38:33 AM »
It sounds like their interpretation of "let's work together" means "let's do it my way and you can sing along."  It also sounds like even if they had been willing to listen to your suggestions, they might not have the musical range to even be able to do it the way you're used to. 

Just a note here to say why wouldn't it be?  When I was a church music director, it wasn't up to the soloists to determine how a piece was done.  I wouldn't necessarily pick someone who was more traditionally inclined to sing a more contemporary piece, but it sure wouldn't be up to the singers to determine how the song was done.
 
I have heard a duet done where one singer was contemporary and the other sang in a classical style and it was horrible.  Totally mismatched.  So, I would say that if the OP can't sing it in a way that matches what the group is getting at to back out of doing it.  No reason need be given.  Seems like they still have some time to find someone else?

Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11664
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2012, 01:59:45 AM »
It sounds like their interpretation of "let's work together" means "let's do it my way and you can sing along."  It also sounds like even if they had been willing to listen to your suggestions, they might not have the musical range to even be able to do it the way you're used to. 

Just a note here to say why wouldn't it be?  When I was a church music director, it wasn't up to the soloists to determine how a piece was done.  I wouldn't necessarily pick someone who was more traditionally inclined to sing a more contemporary piece, but it sure wouldn't be up to the singers to determine how the song was done.
 
I have heard a duet done where one singer was contemporary and the other sang in a classical style and it was horrible.  Totally mismatched.  So, I would say that if the OP can't sing it in a way that matches what the group is getting at to back out of doing it.  No reason need be given.  Seems like they still have some time to find someone else?

I got the impression from the OP that this wasn't led by a music director, rather that it was suggested by the other performer(s) and the OP got awkwardly invited after they had already decided the piece and style they wanted to do.

weeblewobble

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3284
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2012, 06:44:38 AM »
SS behavior would be to tell the other performer that this is YOUR piece and she's not allowed to perform it or to tell her that she has to conform to your musical style, or the song won't be performed at all.  You're just recognizing that your styles don't mesh.  The previous suggestions on withdrawing from the performance are good.  Go with them.

o_gal

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 564
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2012, 09:43:52 AM »
You are not a SS at all, just an artist with a different style than the other singer.  It's even possible that some of the others have noticed that your voices/styles are not blending well together.

I think that you are fully justified in saying something like......

I have really enjoyed our practices together, but this is not working out.  Our styles are too different, and we just aren't blending well together.  I'm going to bow out and give XXXXX a chance to perform this as a solo, since I have done it so much in the past.  Thank you so much for thinking of me - perhaps we can collaborate sometime in the future.

For the win!  I think this wording is perfect and the exact thing you should do.

Yes, and you need to say it NOW. There are only 3 weeks until Christmas and you don't want to leave them in a lurch because they were counting on you. If they still want to perform it as a duet, they need to have the time to find someone else right away.

BeagleMommy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3069
Re: I don't want to perform with you...
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2012, 03:39:57 PM »
Mr. Tango, I completely get what you mean and, no, you are not being a SS.  I'm a belter with a strong verbrato.  I do not mesh with softer-voiced singers.  I also tend to put a lot of emotion into performances.

Many times you just don't "feel" a piece.  I think this is what's happening here.  If you don't connect with the music (or the variation thereof) your performance won't be good.  I think if you offer to bow out so they can choose a different person for the duet you'll be fine.