Kermie, you ask, what is up with the singing these days?
It's been a bit awkward, since to sing anywhere in the fall I would have had to audition in the spring, when I wasn't living here yet. It was the first September in 19 years (since 1988!) I didn't have a group with which to sing/perform regularly.
First, I started lessons again with my former teacher. The motivational benefit here is large, since even when we haven't scheduled our next lesson I'm doing pretty well with the practicing. I'm currently weighing the pros and cons of sticking with him (pros: I'm making progress in the lessons, he's terrifically nice and charges less than many teachers; cons: long travel time, spotty scheduling, he doesn't kick my ass nearly as much as he could/should), but for now things are fine.
I made a recording to apply for Fancy Choral Program. I'm not holding my breath here, since some really top-notch people are involved and I'm thinking it's about time I'd be hearing from them if I'd gotten accepted, but it feels good to know I made a stronger case for myself (musically and via letters of recommendation) than I did two years ago, when I last applied (and got rejected).
I auditioned for a couple of choral directors and contractors, and have my name on lists to audition for a couple more. (Interesting fact: many conductors book professional choirs via choral contractors. When the contractor gets a call saying, for example, "I need 30 singers for a performance of the Messiah on December XX," they look through their list and call a bunch of people.) There's a fair amount of lag time here -- I just signed on to perform in a concert in April, for example -- so nothing coming up in the near future.
And I'm subbing (filling in when someone can't make it) with my former church choir on occasion. This has been an unexpected pleasure, since when I sang with them full-time, the atmosphere was toxic and I felt very insecure about my own abilities to consistently produce the kind of sound and tone the conductor demanded. Said insecurity was compounded by the toxic atmosphere, which I didn't truly recognize until I returned this fall to find that the group was--normal. Healthy. Everyone trusted each other and was happy to be singing there, the result, I learned, of a two-year-long purge on the part of the conductor. And there have been technical improvements in my own singing over the past three years. I left kicking myself for not jumping at one of the soprano positions when they were still open (fairly late into the fall, no less!), but alas. So I'm hoping to sub fairly often, and perhaps transition into a full-time spot if one opens up for next fall.
What I haven't done: gotten on the sub lists at any other churches, auditioned for the contractors/conductors who might not be fun to work with. In other words, I've been moderately picky, which might contribute to the fact that I'm not doing much performing at the moment. I'd love to remain picky and get work, but I'll see whether that's possible.