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I’m always in a rather exalted state after choir rehearsals. Not exalted as in above it all, not elevated, not superior, but exalted as in expanded, brightened, and feeling somewhat unearthly. Not unearthly as in heavenly, but unearthly as in not of the earth.
Of course, I’m an atheist, and I don’t believe in any of the sacred ideas about which we sing, but as I’ve written previously, I love singing sacred music. I wrote, “I am not religious, but I respond to sacred music because I respond to the belief of the believers. I sing not for myself; rather I sing with, and for, those who composed the texts and the music, and for those who listen and are inspired.”
In particular, I respond to the response of the choirmaster, whether it is his joy, or tenderness, or intensity, or awe, or just the sheer pleasure he radiates at the beauties of the texts and music we sing. He and I share a love of beautiful texts, and though of course there is never any discussion, I know what he likes, and privately, I enjoy his enjoyment.
After choir rehearsals, I drive home silently in the dark night, never, of course, turning on the radio, but just letting my mind expand into the music and texts of the past two hours. Sometimes I pause near the little wetland near the top of the hill to listen to the night. Tonight a few spring peepers are singing to each other. (Only a few.)
And the moon – a perfect soft silvery moon to illuminate my mood tonight. A choir moon.
More of my essays on the life of a chorister, and more about choral rehearsals and choral music, may be found here: http://quodlibet-sarah.blogspot.com/search/label/Chorister