Last year I joined a choir, after years of good intentions and noting it on my to do list. I am well versed (pardon the pun!) and evangelical about the benefits of singing, and singing with other people simply multiplies these exponentially.
It can lift a mood, strengthen the body and mind, elicit feelings of solidarity and togetherness, and it makes you aware of being involved in something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
I took my youngest daughter to our rehearsal a couple of weeks ago and she sat patiently, Kindle in hand, only half listening to the drill of learning each individual part in turn – wide-eyed sopranos; altos (who always seem to draw the melodic short straw, with lines that seem to make no sense or follow no rational pattern when heard on their own); sadly under-represented (in our choir) tenors and even more under-represented basses (or bass, singular, at times) – as we patiently repeated line after line of our contributions to the song. She appeared entirely disinterested, and then our choir leader said those magical words, “Right, let’s try that all together…” and the magic happened. The harmony came alive in a sense that was palpable in the room – and my daughter’s mouth fell open, her Kindle slid softly onto the seat beside her and she gazed, amazed at the sound we had collectively produced.
I share her awe and wonder on a weekly basis. Every rehearsal includes (at least) one occasion where my spine tingles and my body becomes aware of the vibration of energy in the hall, in the sound waves, in the group of people with whom I am sharing a room, a song, an experience, a moment.
So tonight we take to the stage – my musical soul mates and I, plus a well known operatic pop quartet – to bring to fruition the hours of practice, both together and alone, in cars and living rooms, school halls, churches, bathrooms and bedrooms, perhaps to the point of irritation of some of our loved ones who doubtless are sick to death of the one single line of harmony that we sing unaccompanied at every opportunity.
Tonight it all comes together and we make seven songs worth of the sound that parted my daughter from her beloved Kindle.
I can’t wait!