I went to a choral concert my niece was performing in, and it was amazing. I came away with a few observations:
It’s hard to put on a program of excellent choral music without hymns and other religiously-themed pieces. This concert featured “I Sing Because I’m Happy,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “Dirshu Adonai.” Choirs’ repertoires would be badly impoverished if you took away all their religious material.
One of the conductors invited the audience to sing along to “America The Beautiful.” “Singing kids come from singing families!” she chided us, and I wanted to add, “and churches!” I am increasingly grateful for the work the Church does teaching people to sing–particularly young people–because it’s an activity that popular culture has associated with celebrity. The good news must be sung as well as preached. In our day and age, choirs and hymnals are kind of revolutionary.
“Teaching kids to sing is an emergency,” said another conductor. I’ve never heard such urgency associated with arts education. The statement struck me as unassailably true.
Lastly, I need more live music in my life. As someone who accumulates, digests, and shares gobs of recorded music, I barely ever seek out live performances, and that’s a shame. Something like an emotional massage happens when a good piece of music played live hits your ears.
My niece’s choir sang a musical setting of the Yeats poem, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” and by the third note I was wiping my eyes. It was a gift.