As the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale began its regular spring season in January, who of us could have envisioned that, come early May, we wouldn't be seeing you, our friends, at our spring concert? In fact, our last rehearsal was March 10. I'm sure that you, like I, have been seeing the outpouring of musicians on social media . . . some of them collaborating as best they can through virtual space, and many of them lamenting just what we're missing in this time. This outpouring tells us something about the importance of what we do when we sing. If we were a business, I'd say we'd qualify as an "essential business."
And so we wait. I read a book a few years ago by Stacy Horn titled Imperfect Harmony. It's Stacy's account of the vital role that choral singing played in her life. Like most of us, she is an amateur musician, singing for the love of it. As we approach this week which would ordinarily be filled with singing, I wanted to share the closing paragraph of Imperfect Harmony with you. This is Stacy's account of a rehearsal of the choir of which she was a member:
Rehearsal was in the church that night. It was a little on the dark side, but there was enough light to see. John [the choral director] raised his arms. I looked down at my music, the page covered in my handwritten asterisks, and we began. Voices sparked into life all around me, like matches being lit, but gently, as if someone's hands were slightly covering and protecting the flame. The music we made was as lyrical and angelic as anyone could have hoped for. John made a few comments about how we could do it even better and once again raised his arms. I couldn't believe my luck. We were going to sing it again. While he concentrated on getting our voices just right, we sang that section over and over, reveling in the warm glow of our voices, and the magic current of potential that comes to life whenever people are drawn together by the astonishing and irresistible power of a song. [Imperfect Harmony. Stacy Horn. 2013 Algonquin Books]
When will we sing together again as a Chorale? When will we get to share the gift of music with you, our audience? None of us knows. But we do know—and we need to hold on to this fact—that when we sing together, something better than any one of us alone happens. Let's remember that!
We look forward to the next time we see you in our audience!
Musical Director, Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale