Posts Tagged ‘singing

26
Oct
21

Singing In the Rain

Traveling is cool. In fact, I am – at this very moment – traveling down the Danube River with Joan in a COVID-delayed celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary. We are seeing places like Budapest, Vienna, Krems, Remmsberg, and others at an absolutely GLORIOUS time of year.

I also love watching any kind of live sports. The experience of seeing one’s favorite, previously invincible NFL team devolve into a disorganized mess right before one’s eyes takes a bit of the shine off that joy…

… but I still get a real kick out of it.

EATING is another favorite pastime of mine. I love the taste, the smell, the feel, the social dimension, the process, really the whole thing. Unless the menu includes liver, olives, or tripe, I will tuck into just about anything with great gusto.

I am also a HUGE fan of reading. Give me a book with a great plot and good writing and I will be as happy as a clam for hours.

But you know what I really, really, REALLY love? There are not too many things that grab my soul and stir my heart like ORGANIZED GROUP SINGING. 

Honestly.

I love every single part of it. I love opening a new piece of sheet music and hearing the accompanist play it for the first time. I love sitting with my peers in the bass section and groping tentatively for the right notes. I love the gentle glow of confidence that begins to spread through my limbs as we start to hit more notes than we miss. I love it when the individual sections start coming together to form a rich, resonating, seamless harmony.

And I travel to the outer edge of ecstasy when all of us together finally present our harmonious offering to waiting ears. 

Singing with a group creates a mystical connection… between each of the singers and with those listening. It causes a spiritual “welding” of the singers to the artistic vision of the composer… raising each of us to that same rarified plane of experience, if only for a few, fleeting minutes. 

Being part of a choir puts you right into the middle of pure melodious resonance. 

I might be getting a little hyperbolic here, but what the heck! I’m going to go so far as to say that when different voices blend and harmonize, group singing offers one a little foretaste of heaven. 

From many, one.

Harmony in diversity.

As an extra bonus, I open the pages of scripture and discover that pursuing this avocation of mine ALSO allows me to follow the commands of scripture… to wit, “Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:2 NRSV). 

Oh, how I LOVE organized group singing. And oh, how I miss it TERRIBLY

It has been more than two years since I have sung in any kind of group. Once again, the prime culprit is COVID. And sadly, the church we now attend – despite all its other sterling, positive qualities – does NOT have a choir. 

So, what’s a guy to do? How can I satisfy my “choir jones”?

I toss the question to God and receive… silence. 

Over the years I have learned (the hard way, I might add) that silence is often an answer in disguise. It is the answer that says, “Wait. Wait patiently to see what I will do. There is a time for an answer, but that time is MYtime… it is not yours. Wait.”

Or, as the prophet Isaiah said, “… those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NRSV).

So, I wait. And watch. And while I wait, I sing in the shower, out on the trail, in the grocery store, and LOUDLY in the car.

Come on… anybody want to join in?

Abundant blessings;

14
Jun
19

Coming Out

hmc_full-color-portfolio-image_585x400I like to sing.

Correction; I absolutely LOVE to sing.

And so it was with real joy and excitement that I accepted my friend’s invitation three years ago to audition for a group called the Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC). My friend had just been hired as the new artistic director of HMC. He knew of my love of singing from long-ago church connections and decided to reach out to me.

Heartland Men’s Chorus hails from Kansas City and is a civic singing group which has been in existence for 33 years. Oddly enough, the Chorus is made up almost entirely of males. I say almost because we admitted our first female member two years ago. 

HMC performs three concerts per season, including a Christmas program, a spring show, and a summer show. One of the three concerts is usually a “pops” concert of some kind while the other is often connected with a social justice cause.

An example of the latter was our spring 2017 concert titled “Indivisible… Songs of Resistance and Remembrance” which included the song, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed. This haunting piece took the actual recorded last words of seven unarmed black men shot by law enforcement officers (including Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Trayvon Martin) and set them to music.

Our concerts almost always include 13-14 intricate, beautiful, harmonious numbers, they last for over two hours with music that is 100 percent memorized. 

All the singers (except for the occasional professional “guest soloist”) are volunteers, yet prepare and perform like professionals. 

Oh… did I also mention that Heartland Men’s Chorus is Kansas City’s gay men’s chorus? 

And even though I am a straight, middle-aged, married guy, they have welcomed me warmly.

It may have been that I imagined – when I first began singing with them – that the singers in the chorus would have a lot to gain by singing with me. I am, after all, a pastor, an open, progressive thinker, and a solid lower bass. 

Little did I suspect that it would instead be me who gained the most from our association.

For example, I gained a much greater appreciation of how to blend my voice with others. 

But I also gained an understanding of what it means to live a courageous life… daring to declare your true, God-given identity to the world knowing it might cost you friends, family, job, and even physical harm.

With the chorus I have gained an understanding of the correct way to shape different vowel sounds for maximum clarity.

But I also gained an understanding of the life-saving importance of having a safe, accepting community where people don’t have to guard every word, thought, and gesture.

The Heartland Men’s Chorus has taught me a valuable lesson about the level of work it takes to prepare a performance that people willingly pay hard-earned money to see.

But it has also taught me that a common mission can unify a group of people that once might have seemed impossibly disparate. 

We had an absolute BLAST preparing and singing last week’s concert: “Rock You… a Wild Ride  Through the Music of Queen.” The soloists were absolutely on point. The harmonies were tight and melodious. The backing band kicked serious booty.

But most of all, I was overjoyed to be able to be part of a group of people who had the courage to stand up in front of the world and say, “Check it out! This is who I AM! I am not ashamed of that and you will never convince me there is any reason I SHOULD BE ashamed.”

It is now up to me to continue to live that lesson in my everyday life.




Russellings Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Russellings of the Spirit on WordPress.com

Flannel with Faith

Embracing imperfection with faith, flannel, & fresh air

susiesopinions

Life at age 73, feeling like a 20 year old. You can do it too.

CHOP TALK

Know your stories

My Pastoral Ponderings

Pondering my way through God's beloved world

All The Shoes I Wear

Writing Down The Bones

Just Being Me

My life and faith - without a mask.

La Tour Abolie

An eclectic mixture of personal essays, stuff about writing, stuff about books and far out philosophy from an old baggage in a book-tower.

° BLOG ° Gabriele Romano

The flight of tomorrow

Eden in Babylon

a traditional American musical with a progressive score and topical themes

LUNA

Pen to paper

_biblio.bing_

A law student and an avid reader. Along with your desired book reviews you're gonna get great book suggestions. Books of all genre with detailed review. Thank you, Visit Again ❤️

Humanitarian Explorer

Traveling the world to discover and meet needs

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Steadfast Pictures

Visual Media for God's Glory!

The Immortal Jukebox

A Blog about Music and Popular Culture

yadadarcyyada

Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Pics and Posts

Goodies from my mailbox and camera

%d bloggers like this: