UnpreparedForABowieRehearsal4_1000

I was in a very large room. But it wasn’t just a room — it was a huge, wide tower or majestic structure high off the ground, and I sat with a few hundred others around the rim of this enormous cavern.

The room was rectangular in shape, and at the far side, standing on a ledge facing us, was David Bowie. He was working with us on some sort of project he was doing, acting as our choral director, as he led us in performance, singing something from his last album — or possibly a new work.

He spoke for a while. I was trying to take it all in, but it was quite heady and sophisticated, so I didn’t completely understand everything that he said.

Then everyone started singing. The place had amazing acoustics, since it was a giant chapel or church tower. I wasn’t familiar with the song and didn’t know the words, but somehow, I figured them out as we went along that first time. It sounded incredible, like a huge professional choir, and it was extremely moving.

We must have been chosen to work with him on an album or live show, and we were rehearsing our parts. Then something happened. He was talking to us some more, and then we were to sing again. I’m not sure if a bunch of new people had joined in or what it was, but when we began again, we were all out of tune and not in sync with each other. I could no longer recall the words, and others struggled as well.

Bowie must have been frustrated with what he was hearing, because after a little while, he spoke to us again and said that he decided we should work with someone else until we were comfortable with the music, before working directly with him again. He went on to say that obviously not everyone had listened to his new music and some weren’t familiar with it. It was like a scolding or accusation. He said he was handing things over to some woman who would work with us instead.

I felt disappointed, of course, but it was completely understandable. I mean, why should he waste his time, when we were obviously so unprepared? Though I couldn’t figure out what happened, since we sounded so wonderful earlier.

It was as though the magic had been lost.

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