Rehearsing My Choir

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The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces are a U.S. indie rock band formed in 2000 in Brooklyn, New York. The band's primary members are Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The siblings are originally from Oak Park, Illinois, a near-western suburb of Chicago. more »


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But there was one other man with whom I didn't get along.

The Bishop
would head down, head down to Deerport Station,
to see what stars on the silver screen might be seen,
or Broadway stage were all the rage,
with his black leather autograph book,
and his black leather pastoral pumps,
and his pressed black robes,
and his tidy black beard of which he was so proud,
and his hat that stuck out in a crowd.
But there he'd sit,
at his table at the Edgewater Hotel,
wearing his ecclesiastical furs,
and lunching with two giggly and none too healthy looking young men,
and in his shirt pocket up close to his heart was his autographed picture of Robert Mitchum,
which he no doubt used in an impure way.

And I was at home rehearsing my choir.

On Christmas day,
in the afternoon,
I got a call at home.
The Bishop was on the phone,
wanting the choir to go and sing
on some Channel 44 thing.

And I said "Out of the question!
The rest of the day is for their families!"
And the Bishop became furious:
all that time singing Western music,
Christmas carols, backsliding,
and no time to represent the diocese!
But of course he was just upset because he wanted to be on the show,
and he hated women.

And I knew he was angry with me,
but I couldn't worry about it.
I went about my business,
rehearsing my choir.
Rehearsing my choir.

(Da da da da da da da)
(Da da da da da da da)
Ugh, altos, out of tune!

(Da da da da da da da)
That's not good!
(Da da da da da da da)
That sounds horrible.

Next Sunday was my late sister's Namesday.
La la la.

And the Bishop was coming that day to our church to deliver a sermon,
which would give me quite a big surprise.

"Decadence in the church!
Betrayal of our traditions!
Look up in the shoir loft, for instance, the lady in red:
I ban her from receiving communion,
and remove her as choir director!"

I couldn't believe my ears.
And the congregation couldn't believe theirs.
And my husband was furious when he was told, as he wasn't there at the time,
and letters were written and phone calls were placed,
and the matter was taken up, and I was granted an audience.

And I sat there nervous and frightened,
when into the room
stepped His Eminence,
the Archbishop.

They had a strange deliberating process at his initiative,
as it was his prerogative alone.
But the Hierarch with the tallest hat and longest beard would stand in the middle,
and the prelates with shorter hats and beards radiated out,
with the Archbishop in front of them,
and then they began to intone.
And I was left on the other side of the door, alone.

And when they came out, Bishop Nikolaki was sent to San Jose.

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