In some ways, choirs have become a thing of the past, with most churches emphasizing praise teams and special music. But I still love singing in a choir. It’s especially fun for me when the singers have a certain understanding of music and we can spend our time fine-tuning, instead of learning notes.
I’m in a super choir right now called the Rockbridge Choral Society. We have about 70 singers and meet weekly for 1 ½ hours. Last season we sang Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” and now we’re preparing for a holiday concert. The music we’re singing is so beautiful: some of my favorites are Morten Lauridsen’s “Ave Maria” (not the traditional one), Holst’s “Lullay my liking,” Rutter’s “Mary’s Lullaby,” Gabrieli’s “O Magnum Mysterium” (from 1587), and Sargent’s arrangement of “Silent Night.” Ave Maria almost always makes me want to cry, it is so pretty.
The beauty of intertwining parts and voice ranges is what draws me to choral music. I’m not the star; rather, I’m part of a group and only when we’re all together do we have the strength and beauty of a choir. I love standing next to the tenors and hearing their part. I love singing alto 1 while the woman next to me sings alto 2 (a bit lower, usually).
I also appreciate a good director. It’s an encouraging feeling of growth when the director demonstrates how to make something better, and we’re able to improve as he asks. I’m constantly learning more about music by listening to his insights and ideas.
Thank you, God, for gorgeous music and for the opportunity to sing in choirs!