Dax texted me last night while I was at work, asking me if I could come in at 7:00 this morning and read for the liturgy. I really should start doing that on my own... anywho. So I got up early and walked to the church at about 6:30. It was a pleasant walk. Nobody was out and about yet, and the streets were quiet and still. It was nice and cool outside, and the sun hadn't come up yet, so when I got to the church the atmosphere was the way I like it - dark and candlelit and silent. After I received a blessing from Fr. Justin, I waited in the choir nook until it was time to start reading the hours. Just before that, Fr. Justin and I briefly went over the two troparia and the kontakion for the hours, and also the epistle for the prokeimenon reading. Hopes were high that I wouldn't mangle anything this time.
By the time I had finished reading the hours, Louise and I were the only parishioners who had shown up, so I was a one man choir this morning. As I was reading, I was actually kind of hoping that no other choir members would appear, as I wanted to experience what it was like to sing the entire liturgy by myself. Well, I got my wish, and my voice held out fine through the whole thing because I sang the melody instead of tenor. That was a relief, because to me, singing tenor for an hour is the same as trying to lift weights with my voice. Also, since I was the only person singing, my goof ups didn't result in the usual exponential cascade of chaos among the other choir members.
I did get ahead of myself a couple of times, and Fr. Justin had to get me started on a couple of the tones, and I was late walking up to the altar before the epistle reading, and I got flustered at the beginning and couldn't find the right page, and I only read half of the first line of the prokeimenon, and I read the wrong 'alleluia' at the end of it, and I forgot what I was doing during the middle of one of the litanies, but other than those nitpicks, things went fairly smoothly.
Afterward I went to CopyPro and printed up all of the tones onto little 4 x 5 note cards. I know all of the tones by ear and I can sing them when either Dax or Fr. Justin starts off with the melody, but trying to memorize which tone is which puts a dangerous strain on my left brain. Plus, the tones are referred to by number, and as far as I'm concerned, that's math. Math is also dangerous to my brain.
I'm going to make a little book out of them and carry them with me everywhere, and hopefully they'll sink in eventually.