Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chorus

A couple of weeks ago, we got an email detailing an upcoming performance calendar for the Harding University Chorus. They are traveling around our area, and it just happened that they would perform at a church less than a mile from our house tonight. When I saw that, I knew I wanted to take my kids, especially Ava, to the concert.

It's almost impossible to explain how much my life has been affected by being a member of choruses and by choral music. From middle school through college, I was always a choral member. I majored in music education, and taught music for 5 years before staying home with kids. But over the past decade, choral music has been almost non-existent in my life.

When I got to the church tonight I was immediately assailed with memories of being in choir in college. The college kids look the same to me. About a dozen of those college kids reminded me of specific friends I knew then...things just don't change much I guess. I remembered going on trips exactly like tonight. We would be split into small numbers of 2-3 and hosted by families from the church at which we performed. That could be a blog post on its own because I had some strange experiences staying in the homes of strangers, let me tell you.

As the concert was about to begin, all I could think about was what Ava would think of it. I had this feeling that she would love it, but I didn't know for sure. The chorus opened with a beautiful, really it was absolutely stunning, piece with intricate, swelling harmonies. In fact, it was my favorite song of the night. And I saw Ava go completely still. I swear she was not moving a muscle, as she stared at the stage with her mouth slightly agape. I kept looking at her, the singers, back to her...and she was frozen. And then, during a somewhat quiet part in the music I actually heard her exhale. It was like she had forgotten to breathe and had finally remembered to do so. I cried. I was so full of joy seeing her swept away in appreciation for music that means so much to me. It was a deeply emotional experience.

She kept still, not frozen as she was during the first song, for the entire performance and truly enjoyed listening. During one spiritual she leaned over and said, "This one has a catchy tune." You know, I can't believe I let her reach age 7 without ever hearing the type of choral music that impacted my life for so many years. I should have shared it with her earlier, although maybe this was just the right time. Not only that, but I had not realized what a musical drought my own life has been in for so many years. I love singing choral music. I no longer participate in something I loved for 20 years and I really do miss it.

At the end of the concert, as always, Harding alumni were invited to the stage to sing The Lord Bless You and Keep You. I brought Ava along with me so she could experience standing in the midst of the singers. I neglected to mention that the director of this chorus is still the same one I had nearly 15 years ago! So I stood under his direction tonight, singing as I did back then, cherishing the experience, thankful for the beautiful evening.
I went to the director after the concert (yes, he remembered me). I told him that it was my daughter's first time to hear this kind of music and thanked him. It was nice to share a hug with a mentor from long ago. I also thanked some of the chorus members who probably thought I was a crazy old lady while secretly hoping they weren't staying in my home tonight.

5 comments:

The Powells said...

That's really great! I'm glad that you and Ava could share in that experience together.

Brandy said...

This is a beautiful post Becky! I think Phillip III would really enjoy a chorul performance as well. He's got an ear for music...not sure where he 'got' it though. I can hear you singing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" in my head now...you've got such a beautiful voice!

Jenn M said...

What a neat experience for you and Ava!

Elaine said...

I got teary eyed just reading about "The Lord Bless You and Keep You". Singing is so powerful. Glad you shared this experience with Ava and with others!

Tom said...

We would like to publish your post in Harding magazine. Please reply to hardingmag@harding.edu and let us know if we can share your heartfelt comments with others.