Last Sunday, May 7th, the Music Department celebrated its first Annual Choir Festival since the pandemic, and my first Annual Choir Festival ever at the helm. The day was full of excitement, unexpected changes, beautiful music, and a lot of administrative details.
For me, personally, it is incredibly difficult during those critical moments of “performance” with an ensemble to feel and appreciate the beauty of what we are creating together. I left the Choir Festival feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and a little uncertain of how everything went. As I was sitting at home, working my way backwards through the evening, I remembered that in a moment of rehearsal with Schola, I recorded a bit with my phone so I could hear what it sounded like in the room. For those who weren’t there on Sunday evening, Schola sang “Meet Me Here” from Considering Matthew Shepherd by Craig Hella Johnson. It is the concluding piece of a larger work that represents the life and journey of young Matthew Shepherd. In that moment, sitting on the sofa, listening to what is, for all effective purposes, just a practice track – I realized how lucky and how grateful I am to be able to make music with my colleagues, my children’s choirs, volunteers, and even strangers.
The recording reminded me that there is more to life than the number of people in choir stalls, the difficulty of the anthems we sing, the number of participations crosses we give out. Music is about breaking down boundaries, connection, building community, and having a safe space for all to express themselves. Music can transcend, it can reach beyond the ordinary day-to-day tasks and remind us of who we are, and Whose we are. So, I invite you to take just sixty seconds, and be transported to a rehearsal in the balcony of the church on a gorgeous spring Sunday afternoon and connect and commune with something and someone larger than yourself.
We are home in the mountain
And we’ll gently understand
That we’ve been friends forever
That we’ve never been alone
We’ll sing on through any darkness
And our Song will be our sight
We can learn to offer praise again
Coming home to the light . . .