Meet a Chorister -
Lee Paine (alto)
Jokingly asked what was it like to sing in the very first concert in 1924, Lee answered in kind: “You know, the memory starts to fade a bit, especially from the years long before I was born, so I can only claim to be the longest term member, not a founding member!"
Musical history: I grew up in Taunton, MA. Across the street lived the head of music for the town; he organized the kids on the block into barbershop quartets.
Musical instruments: I learned on a never-tuned piano with missing keys. My mother used it strictly for decoration, with large ferns arranged on it. Right now I’m learning to play an autoharp.
Favorite piece: Elijah: Mendelssohn has the soul of an alto, writing beautiful lines for altos, as opposed to the leftovers Beethoven serves up.
What would you like to sing sometime? One of the Verdi operas I haven’t already sung (I’ve sung with many opera companies, among them Yale and the Connecticut Opera). I just love being in the little world that singing in a fully staged opera creates with each performance.
What are you listening to right now: I listen to the opera channel on Sirius. I’ve been trying to inoculate myself with Wagner, which I don’t enjoy.
Fondest GCS memory: In 1976, GCS sang in some of England’s most and least prestigious churches. When GCS arrived for a concert at one country church after a long bus ride, a deacon directed the men to the left side of the church, women to the right. There were no bathrooms: I still remember 50 women squatting in the marshes.
Hobbies: Photography has long been a passion (https://www.leepainefinephotography.com). For 25 years I wrote a column on photography for the Greenwich Time. A recent passion has been completing my book, Extraordinary Revelations to Ordinary People, exploring my own and others’ spiritual visions.