One of the benefits about using my own score to perform Handel's Messiah again is that I get to revisit all the annotations I made last time. And the time before. And there are a lot of them: ranging from "Concentrate", to "Watch Score!", to notes circled, underlined, etc. They're useful and, sometimes, intriguing. I know, for instance, that I'm still struggling with hitting a note in the middle of "And he shall purify the Sons of Levi", where instead of going up high at the end of a run, the soprano line goes down. Yes. That's right. Down. Unheard of!
Some of the notes that said "Look at Andrew" or "John!!!", but most intriguing were the ones that said "Phil". Who the hell, was Phil???
"John" was easy to remember: John Argyle, my first conductor at the university choral society. We even had a song for him, sung to the tune of "Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner":
"Maybe it's because I'm a chorister
That I love John Argyle.
Love his woolly beard and his spectacles.
Yea, verily, he's got style.
I get a funny feeling inside of me
Every time I see him smile.
Oh, maybe it's because I'm a chorister
That I love John Argyle"
"Andrew" wasn't that difficult either. He conducted the next choir I joined. (He also used to play the organ for my school's biannual services at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne, when I sang in the school choir.)
But who the hell was "Phil"? All last week, I was wracking my brain trying to remember. I remembered being conducted by Bevan, and Barry, David (a.k.a. "Frodo", he had hairy feet), another John (he was the Music Master at the Boy's School - I was at the Girls' but sang in their choir - I always had to fight myself not to call him "Sir"). But no Phil.
The "D'oh!" moment came on Monday night when I was driving home from rehearsal. I can't believe it hadn't occurred to me. I'd spent the entire week moaning to people that I couldn’t remember who "Phil" was. And yet, it was so simple. And I was being such an airhead. What was the name of the choir that Andrew had conducted me in? The Melbourne Philharmonic Choir" a.k.a. "the Melbourne Phil". D'oh!