Singing Makes the Connection
This past weekend, choirs from a local high school and college had their retreats at a camp at the Gorge. As a chaperons for my older son’s group, I had the opportunity to see what this is all about. What I discovered was that between games of capture the flag and spaghetti feasting, vocal groups disconnect from their usual schedules in order to better connect with each other, and their music.
The chaperons helped with a little of the cleaning, but mostly our role was to be there in case help was needed. None was required, so I read a book, chatted with the other adults, and walked the grounds. I stumbled on the college choir by accident, when I was looking for the office where it was rumored lattes could be purchased certain hours of the day. I overheard the college men’s ensemble harmonizing like angels. I listened for a moment and walked on. Later I saw those same young men playing volleyball and horsing around.
My son’s group had one rehearsal, between eating and playing, during their retreat, and the chaperons gathered round to listen. Their instructor could hear things in their voices I would have never picked out. Improving their craft is the point of any rehearsal, and even during a brief practice, they did. It was amazing to see these normal teenage boys become composed in their expression, if only for the moments when they sang together.
All the arts are an elevation of the human experience. When we sing or paint or write or dance, we reach beyond our ordinary selves for a moment. When we share the experience with others, we connect to each other in healthy and purposeful ways.