I like to think that I have put enough thought into realistic and unrealistic expectations, into recognizing my own short-comings, and into their quirks of personality or musicianship that the choir doesn't really test my equanimity.
But between my short fuse, which I like to blame on my cold/sore throat/allergies.... oh, all right, nodes; the unavoidable interferences to rehearsal time; the work load (for them,) the fact that there was no heat in the loft and a howling gale was making itself heard and felt through the 90 year old windows; and the fact that I was giving the same note for the umpteenth time, (and was striving for relative diplomacy instead of saying 'everyone's perfect EXCEPT YOU!!!!!'), I lost it in rehearsal.
I have a tenor, (I should have faced the obvious when he "returned" to the choir a few weeks after I began my tenure and everyone told me that all my predecessors had thrown in the towel with him, so the he had resigned/been forced out, and rejoined the choir a half dozen times,) who likes to repeat any direction or correction I make.
He has what I thought at first was an annoying but acceptable mnemonic device: I would say, That consonant needs to come on the third beat, and he would parrot, Right, that consonant needs to come on the third beat.
And sometimes it sounded apologetic, (or was that wishful thinking on my part?) when he repeated some egregious mistake.
But as I got to know him better, my perception of his tone of voice changed, and he sounded not remorseful, and not even as if he were agreeing with me, so much as weighing in on the subject, as if his judgement were the one that mattered, Yes, right, that would be better if we were softer the second time.
But then I began to notice, he would repeat what I had said officiously to other people, as if he had "caught them," or as if it were the other tenors who were screwing up.
And then he began chiming in when I was talking to other people, other sections, Bob, you're a little late on that second entrance, he'd turn around, Right, Bob was a little late; and even laugh, sopranos that phrase was a bit choppy, can you not re-attack on the third and 7th notes? ... right, you sopranos were choppy, he'd chortle.
And so at rehearsal today I lost it.
I'd stopped for the 3rd time for the same fault, in the same phrase, and repeated myself in the same measured tone, and when this tenor, (who was actually the only one singing it wrong,) began "that's right, it should be--- " I'd just had it and crazy-smiled, "I know it's right, I said it because it's right, that's why I said it.... THREE TIMES. And it was RIGHT all three of them."
Well, that's why God invented the sacrament of Confession.
(Or is that why God invented Shiraz?)