For the last three months I’ve been rehearsing for the Brattleboro Concert Choir’s performances this weekend of Ernest Bloch’s Avodath Kakodesh. Looking back, I realize that I’ve been singing with the BCC for the last ten years.
The first weeks of rehearsal of a new piece are not much fun. I don’t know the music well, and I’m not a great sight-reader. Unless there’s a practice CD available, I usually spend a significant amount of time creating a soulless electronic version of the part I’m singing, precise tones with precise timings, which I share with my fellow tenors. I attend at least one two-hour rehearsal each week. All this work adds up to a large commitment of time and energy to the two, sometimes three, annual concert performances.
So, given the many other interests in my life, and the large number of attractive opportunities I reluctantly turn down, why do I choose to sing with the Concert Choir year after year?
Part of the answer is my pleasure, as the performance dates approach, of my ability to sing increasing competently at points in the music. Sometimes I experience singing beautifully, even if it’s only a portion of a phrase that suits my vocal abilities, and feeling in harmony with the musical moment is emotionally satisfying.
But the major rush I, and probably all my fellow choristers, feel is the joy of creating, being a part of, and sharing a beautiful musical experience with others. No one person alone, however talented, can bring our performance into being. To do so, our musical director, our soloists, our choristers, and our orchestra are all needed, and must collaborate effectively at many different levels.
At both performances this weekend, there were times when audience members were weeping.
The conferences I design and facilitate are not rehearsed, and what happens does not flow from a central musical score. But what the BCC performances and Conferences That Work share is the joy of connecting with others to create experiences that are meaningful, and sometimes profound.
I love being a part of both of these worlds.
And I hope you are lucky enough to also have the opportunity to experience this connectedness in some way in your life.