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To Rehearse Or Not To Rehearse? That Is The Question

November 15, 2010

sick.jpegThere seem to be two schools of thought on the question of whether performers who are sick should attend rehearsals or stay away.

One school says: "Keep the hell away from the rehearsal room. You'll only make yourself feel worse and possibly infect everyone else around you!"

The other school says: "Come and sit away from everyone else. Even if you can't actively participate all of the time, at least you won't fall behind with the rehearsal process. And as long as you're not at death's door, you might even feel better for getting out and about a bit."

Depending on the extent of a performer's ill-health, the first option makes the most sense to me. Though there is a case to be made for the latter.

I've been down with sinusitis all week, which is why I'm thinking about this. Yesterday evening, after a weekend of lying in bed, I decided to attend a chorus rehearsal despite not feeling my best. My rationale: 1) I was over the worst of it; and 2) We have two concerts coming up this week, so missing this crucial final rehearsal would not have been ideal.

As it happened, half of the alto section of the International Orange Chorale was sitting to one side of the room at last night's rehearsal with one kind of health issue or another: There was me with my sinusitis, Alana nursing a bad cold, and Lea coping with the stomach flu. We made quite a picture, the three of us, shivering in our coats, scarves and hats, with rolls of toilet paper and bottles of water spread out on a table before us. "How's it going in the infirmary?" the music director asked us during the break, as the three of us sat there looking like we'd walked off the set of Les Miz.

As bad as I felt last night, I was glad I attended the rehearsal. It got me out of bed. It felt good to be around people, even though I was "in quarantine," sitting away from everyone but my fellow invalids to the side of the room. And best of all, it gave me license to be still for a while and just listen to the ensemble, rather than sing non-stop. I'd never done this before. It was a lovely experience. For the first time, I could hear the jagged edges that need to be fixed before our concerts, and the gorgeous sound that the choir makes. It made me feel proud to be part of this group.

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