The pain of statistics

Yesterday was my first choir concert with the Cascadian Chorale and, just like my first big choir concert I had in Brazil (Mendelssohn’s Elijah), I got sick just the day before the concert. At least this time was much milder than the one in Brazil, when I had a very high fever and I can say I don’t remember much of that concert. I have a cold, my second one this season.

This actually got me a little worried. I rarely get sick, about maybe once a year if that much, and why did I get sick twice this year – even after I, for the first time in my life, took a flu shot? Well, suddenly my statistics neurons fired and gave me the answer: if your chance of being sick each year is about 50%, the chance of you getting sick more than once a year is still quite high. If you model it as a random process where the probability of being sick each month is 1/12, the probability that you will be sick at least twice a year is about 25% (you get the same result if you model it as a Poisson distribution – but I thought it would be easier to understand in the normal probability way)

The concert itself was quite interesting. I had about 70% of my voice, so I could still contribute some. There was only one big issue with the concert, as a concept: we only have one 2 1/2 hour rehearsal a week, and there is a limited amount of things you can rehearse this way. So we end up going through a lot of material in the beginning and then focusing the rehearsals on things that are supposed to be more challenging. Problem is that when we get to the day of the concert, we are asked to remember pieces we haven’t sung in the choir for more than a month! And they were in Latvian, Catalan, Mongolian, Estonian… While melody and harmony wasn’t that difficult to remember, the text was a whole other story. But it all ended up fine. We can always use the fact that you can’t really understand the text sung by a choir.

Now I’m just sitting on my couch, listening to some music and thinking what I should do for the day. I’m trying not to do much, but I just can’t stay on here the whole time. Maybe I’ll bundle up and go for a walk soon, try to breathe some fresh (and cold) air.

Oh, yes, talking about cold air, we had our first day of snow here! But it was just too warm outside, so there was no snow on the ground… We had what is called “white rain”. It’s been pretty close to freezing in the last couple of weeks.

Alright, back to trying to do something that doesn’t require my brain to function.

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