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Magic Choral Trick #292 Playing Well With Others

sea belles show dec 2013 Sea Belles elm city echoes and meadowlarksMy parents and siblings and I were involved in two shows this past weekend, in two different cities. But one very powerful thing they had in common was the joining together of different singing groups in the one event.

My performance was an all Barbershop event. My women’s chorus invited the women’s chorus (and their rising star quartet) from a nearby city to come and sing on our show.

Meanwhile, one time zone away, my parents, siblings and nieces and nephews were performing in a church concert that featured a men and boys’ choir, the Cathedral girls’ choir, a small, a cappella women’s group and the local high school choir. I’m told that it was an eye opener for all the singers to hear and appreciate the quality of music being made by other singing groups in the community.

We become cloistered with our choirs – and for the most part, there seems to be not much cross pollination between groups. (Perhaps not a bad thing at Christmas when singing in two or three different ensembles could lead to some tricky performance timing conflicts.) But by singing alongside other choirs we get much more of a sense of the bigger game, and just how important singing is to us humans.

As much as it’s intriguing to listen to other groups and evaluate the work they’re doing, imagining how you might do things differently – what’s going on your head at times like this doesn’t really matter. It’s what suddenly goes on in your heart.

As I was directing the combined women’s choruses in Mary Did You Know, I was struck by how much our hearts hunger for these exquisite musical moments – electrical moments that you wish could go on forever. We were loving singing together so much, that the level of attention in the very quiet section at the end felt as if it were crackling with energy.

In these moments, yes we love singing – but much more importantly, we love each other.

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