Last spring, I had a unique experience taking part in a “virtual” choir performance as a member of the Alexandria Choral Society. I must admit, the idea of weekly choir rehearsals via Zoom along with a virtual choral performance at the end of it (with 3 young kids running amuck in the background!) sounded daunting to put it mildly. With my husband’s support and encouragement, I decided to “step into the unknown” and cautiously embrace this new opportunity.
The entire process was humbling to say the least. Unlike a typical rehearsal where one is able to hear how their vocal part blends in with all others, in this virtual rehearsal I was only able to hear my own voice within an eight-part choral piece and had to trust that my contribution added to the greater whole. Perhaps most daunting was self-recording a “one-take” performance of my part to be added and synced to the full choir for the final performance. All of this was harder than I imagined, yet, the final product turned out to be something so beautiful, and one that I am so very proud of.
Music, and singing specifically, has always been food for my soul. It has the ability to impart greater, emotional depth and meaning to a text. Simply put, music transcends the boundaries of language. On this point, I would then invite you to first take a moment to read the simple, yet profoundly beautiful musical text of “The Sun Never Says”, from Dan Forrest’s Lux: The Dawn from On High:
All this time
The sun never says
To the Earth,
“You owe me”
Look what happens
With a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.
(inspired by 14th c. Persian poet Hafiz)
This text resonated so deeply with me as I, like many others, struggle with the starkly polarized state of the world we currently live in. So often it seems as though we find ourselves pitted against each other in a “me versus you” or “us versus them” or a “tit for tat” mentality. The text gave me a jolting reminder that I need only look up and out into the world around me to see the true presence and awe of God’s infinite and unconditional love ever-present for each and every one of us. It is my sincere hope that you are filled with the serenity that comes from the awareness of the unconditional love that surrounds you daily as you listen to this performance:
— Bridget Flaaen
NOTE: This fall’s Emmanuel Voices blog series, The Artist Within, explores the intersections between creativity & art, and our personal & public lives.
The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog