On singing in choir

Today I sang in a combined choir of around a hundred voices, and it was a very uplifting experience to sing with other choirs, other singers who I never get to hear perform because we are all busy singing in our individual churches on Sunday morning. What is surprising is the number of friends from work that do exactly the same thing that I do, but at other churches in the area. We all love singing, and although our talents may very (I’m a bit of a hack, let’s face it–I’m the joyful noise part of worship) our hearts are true, our dedication is real, and our motivation is pure. The choirs varied in size, some small, some big, some less so. We all dressed in black and white, so the theologies that sometimes separate us were less evident, if not invisible. Our directors have a long row to hoe, so to speak, in that most of us are amatuers, have had little or no voice training, and most of our experience came from high school and college choirs a long time ago. We sing because we love it. We struggle with the notes, the harmonies, the changing key signatures, the rhythms. Many of us are not professionals, but we love to sing. At the end of a long day, rehearsal lightens the day’s load and brightens the dark heart. Music is a spiritual experience for many of us that gladdens our lives on a daily basis. We sing psalms (today the 23rd, which has both a dark and almost melancholy tone to it), hymns, songs of praise, but always with vigor and energy because it is also a part of our faith. Participating in choir is not just about the music; it is also about the wonderful people with whom I sing. We rehearse, we sing, we laugh, we celebrate life’s big landmarks–birthdays, weddings, baptisms and funerals–together. We are more than friends; a choir family, perhaps? We mourn when a member leaves (or dies), and we celebrate when someone returns to the fold. We are a sub-community within a larger church, and today we celebrated a reunion of sorts when people from various faiths and various churches found a way to come together and make a large group, and we made music together. In a time when people suffer from time poverty, when consummerism is more important than community, when our social networking obligations are greater than our face-to-face interpersonal relationships, a few of us put aside the noise of the mundane world and sang, beautiful notes, beautiful words, beautiful people. Our oldest choir member is only 92, and a few of our members are barely more than 18. We came together, we made some music in a most traditional sort of way, and it was a joyful experience in the middle of a complicated, electronic, digital age in which you can’t understand the words to most contemporary music and maybe you don’t want to. I highly recommend the experience, if you can fit it into your schedule.