Saturday, December 5, 2009

Surrendering to Music

Last night we attended an A Capella concert at Wayland Middle School. We heard Bowdoin's Miscellania, Amherst's DQ, and Brandeis' VoiceMale along with three groups from the local high school. My favorite group was actually the high school's T-Tones (for Testostertones). They were so talented, poised and funny.

Sometimes the voice or production quality of the performances lagged, but the mission of the evening was fulfilled by the shear joy on the faces of the singers. Every performer was having a wonderful time. Every performer was strutting their stuff in a solo or listening intently to match their voice to enhance the group. It reminded me of my bell choir days, the joy of being part of a group performance. The satisfying feeling of working hard to accomplish something beautiful even if ephemeral.

I recently finished Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog. While overall, I found the book uneven and overly erudite, there were a few thought provoking ideas. A favorite selection relating to a school choir concert follows:

"Every time, it's a miracle. Here are all these people, full of heartache or hatred or desire, and we all have our troubles and the school year is filled with vulgarity and triviality and consequence, and there are all these teachers and kids of every shape and size, and there's this life we're struggling through full of shouting and tears and laughter and fights and break-ups and dashed hopes and unexpected luck--it all disappears, just ike that, when the choir begins to sing. Everyday life vanishes into song, you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of brotherhood, of deep solidarity, even love and it diffuses the ugliness of everyday life into a spirit of perfect communion. Even the singers' faces are transformed... I see human beings, surrendering to music."

"In the end, I wonder if the true movement of the world might not be a voice raised in song."


heather said...

ummm, that last paragraph gave me 3 waves of goosebumps. and the last line too. who said that? i really believe music might be the most powerful force we know, for healing and moving people together. and i hope i remember it more and more and more. i want to put that whole quote on my quotes list. can i?

Andrea said...

Quotes are from Muriel Barbery's "Elegance of the Hedgehog".

Meryl said...

I've been having sort of a similar experience lately. Coming back to music...trying to play it a little...filling my day with it....It's awesome how much power a song has to make you laugh or smile or cry or anything!