Turns out I didn't have to play in the end. I practiced very hard all week, but this new tune eluded me. I began to get it near the end, but I just ran out of time. I'll probably have it by next week. Half way through the week I wrote to the MD and said that I am working hard, but I find this particular piece quite awkward to play. He wrote back: "You do know you don't have to play all the notes, don't you?"
Unfortunately, by then I was locked into trying to play the whole thing. Playing only the top and bottom became even more difficult in some ways: it is often easier to learn an entirely new piece than to learn a slightly different one. To play just the top and bottom, I had to unlearn the what I had just spent four days learning. Plus I had to learn a new Mass setting for the other choir I sing with. As I said, I just ran out of time.
You professionals may laugh at me, I certainly do, and you may even be horrified that a hack such as I was asked to play at all- and I agree with you there as well. That I was prepared to do my best if necessary is my only defence.
In the end we recorded the song on the electric piano, and I replayed it for the choir. Unfortunately they started a beat late and then dropped four bars. I turned the piano off and we went on a capella. We weren't too bad, all things considered.
The only real glitches of the weekend both happened on the vigil. 1. we were singing with the church's Italian choir, and the two director's altered their programs, leaving us flipping madly through our hymnals. 2. half the choir left when when the EMHC came up with communion, stranding those of us who stayed. They've done it before. I just rolled my eyes this time. I've stopped thinking "Must.... Control... Fist...Of... Death..."
The issue of whether or not we should sing the Victimae Pascali or the Sons And Daughters pieces resolved itself: We did neither. In fact we did nothing but a gospel acclamation. The Soprano was late coming to Mass, and missed the Gospel, and the organist didn't feel he and I were ready to do the sequence. I think this was a case for "ready or not..." But I am not the MD, and I accept his decisions even if I don't agree with them. Especially when I don't agree with them.
The other blot: Father had liturgical dancers at the Vigil, or liturgical movement, or something. I cringed, I really don't care for this sort of thing, but it wasn't too intrusive. They brought up water for the baptisms, and they carried down the aisle with a twirl or two. Father was asking people what they thought. I was too late to speak to him myself, but if I had the chance to answer his question I would have said: "You know, father, if they were to ask me for your head now, I'd have to give it to them."
I wish a happy Easter to you all.