In the process of responding to Keith and Chris' insightful comments, I realized I was creating another post, so I brought it to the forefront of the blog:
Very nice words, Keith and Chris (aka Raul). Thanks for the compliment.
And I think you are right--this song is teaching us a lesson that we didn't expect to learn.
I think that yesterdays group discussion actually brought a different aspect of the perfect solution to the problem. Our solution to bringing life to this work of art is a combination of:
1. bringing a refreshed emotion to the work individually
2. pushing and pulling more--pushing some tempos, pulling some back
3. remembering that those hearing it are hearing it for the first time
4. finding new and softer dynamics
5. avoiding stilted-straight singing without musicality or emotion
There were other great things that were said and all were good.
You and I are in the process of interacting with a piece of music (i.e. art)--we are struggling with it and listening to what it has to say. We are dealing with the fact that "true musical experience" and "absolute mediocrity" are likely outcomes when we sing the first note of this work.
Let us bring our best attention to this piece and not let it defeat us! Let us bring our deepest emotion to this work of art and bring it to life!