Between watching that video in the last post (see below, and seriously, watch it if you haven’t already) and having an interview with a man who’s been the band director at LBJ High School in Austin for thirty-four years, I’ve been thinking a lot about music and its power.
See, I sang in choirs from the time I was about four years old, and so I know that, when you’re a young person and you’re participating in the act of making music with a group of other people, there are on occasion moments of utter transcendence, when everything just clicks and you hit something magical. It may not always be technically correct or incredible (and God knows the choirs I sang in weren’t), but I think that’s part of the beauty of it, the humanity of it. Flawlessness is for recordings, not the live, raw moment.
Most of the great moments of elevation in my life involved singing in a choir, or at least with a group of other people. On the Metro bus in Washington DC (ninety-plus people all crammed in there), in the rotunda of one of the Smithsonian museums, in a rehearsal room before a concert, in a stairwell in my high school, in a mall, in a hundred-year-old church in Scotland–every one of those moments will be etched into my mind as long as I live. There is great power in being part of something that’s bigger than you are, in helping to create this piece of sound that will communicate great emotion and passion to the audience if you’re doing it right.
If/when I have kids, I hope they get the opportunity to be in band or orchestra or choir somewhere. All you guys that didn’t get to do that growing up, I’m really sorry. You missed out.
And when the Bible tells us that one day we will all be singing together with the millions and millions of people that have gone before us, singing the highest thing that can ever be sung, well–that will be joy indeed.