Nice work in the freezing cold last Tuesday! I think we accomplished a lot.
In fact, I'm so excited to be getting together with the orchestra and soloists at last that I'm having trouble thinking about anything else! I only have a few words of advice in preparation:
1) Come early, already warmed up as best you can.
2) Focus on what's happening, throughout the rehearsal.
3) Scores up, parallel to your chins!
4) The orchestration is extraordinarily charming and beautiful. You'll have only a total of four times to hear and marvel at it, so make the most of Bach's genius by enjoying the symbolic representation:
High Strings = angels
Oboes = shepherds
Flutes = the star of David
Trumpets = the arrival and presence of the King
5) We'll be rehearsing the cantatas out of order, to keep the brass from having to sit through a cantata they're not involved in. The rehearsal order will be:
II, I, III, IV
6) And finally, I quote our departed longtime FCO friend Howard Voth, who absolutely reveled in being able to sing music like this. He'd always say, as our concerts approached, "Don't you just feel sorry for them that ain't us?"
Stay healthy, see you next Tuesday,