We've had two useful rehearsals for the Spem concert in the past couple of days - the first was Sunday afternoon at which most of the singers were present, barring about 5 parts. It was amazing how it showed when a part was missing - you'd think that one or two parts not being sung wouldn't be important, but with different parts often picking up cue notes from each other it really did notice in some places when particular lines weren't there - it is 40 parts for good reason.
We also did the joint choir pieces, this time standing at the front of the church in our proper positions rather than sitting in the pews. The distance between the organ and singers was noticeable and is a situation we have always had to deal with at St Mary & St Giles in concerts including the organ and singers at the front of the church (well ever since the present organ was installed in the church in the 1960s). However the choir coped fine with the slight time delay between James conducting, Andrew playing and us singing.
We then returned to the galleries for another run through Spem, and I did a short video recording of choirs 1 and 2 starting us off (they were situated near the organ on that occasion, choir 4 was in the north side gallery nearest the pulpit) before choir 4 came in at bar 16.
Monday evening a much smaller group of us met up in the church (choir vestry) for another go exclusively at Spem this time. There were 23 singers, and not all the choirs were present, so choir 4 had to start us off (no choir 1, 2 and 3 apart from one singer!). We worked through the entire piece bit by bit, taking it apart, note bashing to a certain extent and running over some sections several times, and by the end we all felt as if it had been a worthwhile 90 minutes.
For the programme of items included in the concert, see http://stmarystgilesstonystratford.blogspot.com/2009/03/spem-in-alium.html