Yesterday I did not cry.
In fact, I did not have to fight back the tears when I joined with 70-some others in singing the inaugural concert of the new National Master Chorale to a packed audience in the 800+ seat National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. I am a volunteer singer in the choir.
Our choir was formed after the Master Chorale of Washington was brought to an abrupt close due to financial woes, click here to learn what happened. I sang in that choir for 15 years and felt a great void in my life when it was taken from me. Other members of the choir must have also felt the void because about six months ago, a handful of former MCW members met up with Thomas Colohan and decided to form a new and slightly smaller choir with a new purpose. Check out our website (nationalmasterchorale.org) to learn more.
Last night was the fruit of our labors and it was amazing.
Here are a couple of highlights:
We sang to a packed audience. There’s nothing a singer loves to see more than a throng of eager faces stuffed into every nook and cranny of the concert hall. I don’t know how many people were squeezed together in the 800+ capacity hall. But I did notice that there were some people standing along the sides and that the ushers during the late seating break had to take away the tape that blocked off some rows (where the sound system wires had been taped) to let people sit there. Even the front rows were packed.
We sang our hearts out and in fine form too. As should be the case after any concert, I felt like I had run a marathon and at the same time attended a big family reunion (the rare kind of reunion that heals the soul and bonds family together). Yet I also was high in the moment and due to the love that radiated from the audience, choir and director during the concert.
We were one big sound filling the hall and vibrating the rafters. There were many times during the show when I realized I couldn’t distinguish the sound of my voice from any other around me. One time I questioned for a second whether I was actually singing so I took a breath to hear that some sound had diminished with my inhale — the only sign I could find to signal I had indeed been singing.
The audience understood our words without consulting the program. After the concert, a friend who doesn’t have the best of hearing, said there was no need to look at the words in the program. In fact, he found it to be a distraction from our amazing sound. Rather, my friend understood what the choir and soloists were saying during the concert as if this person was sitting a few feet in front of the stage — this person was in the balcony during the concert. It’s safe to say it is rare when a choir enunciates the words enough for the audience to understand.
Last night, we proved that a group of people with a passion and talent for music can fight against all odds — our own demands from jobs/careers and families, an economic depression, broken hearts from loosing a choir and a city already saturated with arts and amazing musical groups, etc — to form a new choir that fills a very distinct musical gap in the area and sound f–king amazing after only a couple months of rehearsing and planning.
Today my hope is restored in a musical life. Yet just as a widow never fully heals from the loss of her husband and soul mate, I don’t believe I will ever be fully reconciled with what was taken from us when the MCW was closed and that I’ve lost that musical experience forever.
I did not cry yesterday, not even tears of joy.
I did not weep because there will be more concerts with the National Master Chorale and opportunities for amazing moments of song. I did not weep because the time for mourning is past and the moment for singing praises is at hand.
Thank you God for leading us through the desert back to the land of music and harmony.
Thank you my friends and family for coming to the concert and giving us a chance to prove our musical selves.
Finally, thank you my new choir family and director for giving me a reason to sing once again.
ps The Washington Post’s review of the concert http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/01/AR2010030103598.html was pretty on-point in my mind. I’m the blob of blond hair in the second row on the far end of the photo.