Last May, one day before our Spring concert, my nephew passed away quite suddenly a month before his 20th birthday. Grieving and in shock, I debated whether to even attend the concert, let alone sing with the group. I decided that my daughter, Iris, should sing in the concert, and I would stay in the audience, for I knew if I was on stage, I would be crying through most of the program. As I brought Iris to the church to get ready, I was greeted and hugged by many of these beautiful women you see here, and the caring and support I felt was astounding.
During the concert, I sat in the audience and sang in my heart the songs I knew so well from rehearsals. And as I sat, something palpable, something comforting, something special welled up inside me. I felt as though I was being blanketed by the singing, kept warm and safe during a very sad and difficult time. I could feel it in my body, in my skin, in my heart. I was amazed at the intensity of this energy and how healing it felt.
After the concert, as I went to get my daughter and received many more hugs and condolences, I was told that during the warm-up circle before the concert, our director, Karleena had asked the members to dedicate the program to my family, to the spirit of my nephew, and to send out their love and support to us through singing.
I have read that singing from the heart has healing properties. On that night, and through each and every rehearsal with the chorus, the amazing energy of song has carried me through these sad times and lifted me up, and for this I am truly grateful.
I mostly grew up in the Northwest and spent many years singing at school and with the Girl Scouts. My mother had been a professional big band singer so music was always part of our lives. I took piano lessons....interminably, I might add, but it is singing that has been an important part of my life, and mostly singing with others - 'though there always seems to be a tune of some sort running silently through my brain!
But after camping years and graduating from college, I got away from singing with people very much. I would occasionally be a soloist at a friend's wedding and of course there is that constant tune in my head, but singing with people, not so much. Then we moved here a bit over a year ago and a new friend, Judy Jahnke, at my new church convinced me to attend last Spring's TWC concert at St. Mark's in Tucson. I did not know anyone there. I went by myself as my partner, Dee, had not yet moved down to Green Valley from Seattle.
And I was hooked. When Judy asked me if I was interested in joining last Fall, I agreed and I am so glad that I did. I've gotten to connect with some great folks, have made some new friends in my new home and have reconnected with the love of singing that I'd misplaced so many years ago.
So if you've forgotten how much fun it is to sing with others, come join us. If you've never known the joy of singing - alone or with others - come join us. If you think you can't sing, come join us! Now let's get on with the show....and I plan on singing Alleluia for the next 40 years!
When I was a child I loved to sing and wanted to learn to play a musical instrument, but my grandmother convinced me that I couldn't carry a tune and that she couldn't tolerate the cacophony of instrument practice. So I put a large padlock on the door marked "Making Music" and entered the one that allowed me to listen to all kinds of musical delights, from symphonies to Dixieland, from concertos to the Blues.
Last September I discovered that there was a chorus here in Tucson (where we had lived for a year and a half) that did not require its singers to sight read, audition or even have a performance history, so I leapt at the chance to join. Since then, through practice, rehearsals, listening to CDs with all our songs on them (even referring to the scores at home, when I am not sure of a particular sequence, to see if the next note goes up or down!), I have managed not to disgrace myself or my fellow performers.
I am extremely grateful to Karleena, who by dint of a lot of hard work and the conviction that anyone can learn to sing, and to my choral friends, for giving me the key to that large padlock. They have brought a new kind of joy into my life: I had no idea that making music could be so thrilling, so soul satisfying. I find myself humming or singing and realize that the happiness quotient has been ratcheted up a notch.
I regret all the years that I did not sing, but as I start my eighth decade, I look forward to hearing the music of the spheres more and more often and going through the rest of my life with, to coin a phrase, a song in my heart.