My tongue is in my hand…

Sometimes music is like air

Posted on: January 23, 2008

Apparently when I decided to write “everyday”, I meant was that I would write “everyday I get a chance to sit down at the computer, by myself, with time to actually compose some kind of complete thought”.

I was watching Fantasia with Natalie today and I was thinking about how I really do enjoy classical music. I’m not really sure what my first exposure to it was, but I am almost sure it had to do with choir.

I miss singing in a choral group. I loved the group I was in in high school, probably more for the companionship and the teacher than the type of music we performed, although a few pieces stand out in my mind (Kyrie, Set me as a Seal, This Little Babe, and Chapel of Love – through which I learned to sing 2nd soprano). I also developed a love/hate relationship with the movies “Mr. Holland’s Opus” and “Amadeus”, because we watched them year, after year.

I really loved the music and the performance place (Blumenthal) when I was in Youth Oratorio. That was a powerful feeling, musically. So many voices, and the orchestra…I love that feeling. I didn’t return to that group, in spite of loving the musical experience because I was basically the only public school kid there (aside from two other girls from Kannapolis that seemed oblivious to the fact that every one else’s noses were constantly turned up). I wish now that I had given it (and the upturned noses) more of a chance. I think that about a lot of social interactions from high school, but that is another topic for another day.

In college I took a music appreciation course (who didn’t?) that I really enjoyed in spite of the slight pompousness of the professor. I liked just sitting in that room on Tuesday nights and breathing in the music that I otherwise overlook. And seeing, sensing the way the music moved the professor, the way he wanted so much for it to move someone else too, I loved that. Mr. Boyce was like that in high school, my other conductors (Oratorio, College) were like that.

I enjoyed choral in college too, although I must say I am extremely upset that the year after I graduated they went to ITALY. You know what my dad said when I, disappointed and jealous, told him about that? “Well that saved me some money didn’t it?” Although I’m sure he was serious about the money part I think he wishes I could have gone too, he’s been to Europe and always said when he goes back he’s taking me.

When I worked at the daycare, I played classical music lots of times in the infant room. It was a nice break from the upbeat (sometimes encouraging, sometimes annoying), repetitive Christian station usually played. Plus, I think it made me feel somewhat calmer in the midst of 5 babies under 6 months in a room the size of a closet with no window.

Sometimes, music is like air. Sometimes, music is like water. Sometimes music is like wind, like sun, like clouds. Other times, it’s an arm around you, a hand pulling you up, a hand pushing you forward, a hand slapping you across the face. I love when music paints a picture, tells a story. I love when music calms me, moves me, breaks me. But I think what I love most is when music sounds exactly the way I feel inside. That, is amazing, ethereal.

And when you get to perform music that does that, when so many voices and instruments come together to create that sound, it feels like hope, it feels like a living, moving, breathing, expressive and conclusive truth.

I wonder if you can truly experience the fullness of music if you have never experienced bringing it to life with others. I don’t think that it meant the same to me prior to being part of chorus in high school.

Music was always a part of my life, I sang at church all the time in a little trio with my mother and sister, I took lyrics to heart, wrote them down in my book of quotes, let them shape my perspective, but the music itself, that wasn’t until later that I could feel it.

I remember sitting in choir in middle school, towards the end of 8th grade when we were supposed to start figuring out what we wanted to sign up for in high school, watching a tape from the Independence High Christmas Concert. The choir stood on the second floor, overlooking the open area of the first floor mall and began singing “O’ Come O’ Come Emmanuel” and then began slowly walking in two lines down the stairs, filling in the risers that were facing the audience. I could hear the harmonies. I was struck. I was all tingly inside. I HAD TO BE PART OF THAT. And I was. I have 6 tapes, 2 dvds (one for each christmas and spring concert), a photo album designated specifically for pictures of the four years spent, the title of Advanced Women’s Ensemble President for the 2001-2002 school year, and the understanding of what it is to be part of making music.

That will move me for the rest of my life.

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