Last night San Luis Obispo Vocal Arts Ensemble sang the final concert for this concert year. It was, as usual, MAGICAL.
We sang some of the most difficult arrangements that I can remember in my 12 years with the Vocal Arts. We had two all day retreats, rehearsals every Tuesday, group practices in our voice sections, countless hours in individual practice. We even gave up a holiday to add in one more practice.
We didn’t feel prepared. We were making mistakes. Mistakes that we noticed and knew we could do better. We were frustrated.
But performance dates don’t wait. And perform we did.
At the end of the show we got not one, but TWO standing ovations.
Not bad for a community choir that has singers ranging in age from 21 to 79 and generally practices for three hours once a week.
We are all amateurs. We just love to sing. Somehow we seem to always get it together for a performance. I couldn’t tell you the formula. I can’t point to one thing that makes it happen but it does.
One of the songs that we sang last night was “Earth Song” by Ticheli and Whitacre. It speaks directly to why I and those 53 other people around me work so hard.
I am not a poet. Frank Ticheli is. These are his words:
This dark stormy hour,
the wind, it stirs.
The scorched Earth cries out in vain.Oh war and power, you blind and blur. The torn heart cries out in pain.
But music and singing have been my refuge,
and music and singing shall be my light.
A light of song, shining strong.
Through darkness and pain and strife,
I’ll sing, I’ll be, live, see.
Music is my refuge. It allows me to BE. It allows me to LIVE. It allows me to SEE.