Listening to: Rodion Shchedrin-The Sealed Angel
Nope. It’s not true. I’m not back in my dorm room, waiting to enter the “real world” again. It’s just not possible. Just 10 days ago I was eagerly packing for what would become one of the greatest experiences of my life. There really is no exaggeration in that statement; I’ve never been so privileged to be a part of something that can impact every aspect of your life so deeply. It’s always difficult for me to come back after things like this, I always feel so much yearning for just a few minutes in those moments again, but it’s the yearning that pushes you forward to the next time. If you could take the most basic and infinite feelings that we experience, and cast a spell that would allow them to take the form of some tangible event that we could all share, I think the outcome would be the music we have created this past week. It’s astounding how what we do can affect so many people’s lives. At churches, restaurants, planes, city streets and everywhere else, we have given people the opportunity to capture those feelings and keep them in a bottle that has no constraints of time or decay. Each time we have a chance to do that we have a responsibility on ourselves. It’s a weight on our shoulders, but a kind weight, like that of a parent pushing their child forward, towards new and great things. In all the places we traveled to spread our joy, that everlasting symbiotic relationship was there. We sing a song (quite beautifully at that) and receive smiles and tears; someone tells us a story and we laugh and cry…and so goes the circle of joy (or is it choy, tenors?). I can’t even begin to count how many instances of spontaneous connections we all made with our time here, but I can recall a few. Myself, Nathan W. and Danny B. went to an alligator attraction at John’s Pass Boardwalk a few days ago, which was a lot of fun. The man who worked in the store was inquisitive about what group we were with and we told him who we were and why we were there etc. He seemed genuinely interested and asked where we were performing, which we kindly told him. We figured he wouldn’t actually show up, but low and behold he, along with his wife and daughter, were in one of the first rows that night, after apparently rushing from work to see us. After the concert he was visibly in tears, and it was an incredibly awe-inspiring moment. He couldn’t stop raving about us and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this random connection became another leaf on the branch of joy on the unremitting tree of life.
One of the most remarkable moments on the trip for me was our presence at the Capital Board of Trustees meeting. It was too easy for us to see this event as one of formalities…Hoooooold the phone my point was just proven on this here airplane. We were just asked to sing multiple times on board (to a responsive plane audience for once), and a Capital alumni was actually on the flight, and she came right in the middle of us singin’ bandits so we could do what we do best; how great our joy! Alright, back to it. Like I was saying I think it was pretty easy to pass the Trustee event as a laid back concert, but in the end it was one of the highlights of the trip and put so much faith and confidence in what all of our passions are. It was revering to see the dedication of the board members in their duty to serve the Cap family, something we are reminded of all the time, which is one of the reasons why I love Capital so much. It seems they work quite selflessly to provide all of the opportunities we have to take choir trips like this, be given incredible scholarships and get the best education we can. It was pretty apparent that if they weren’t in it from the heart from the beginning, they were certainly moved by the end. An emotional moment for me was when one of the Chapel Choir alumni sitting right in front of me was mouthing the words to “Come to the Water”, and it was just a beautiful moment. As I later learned, he was the tour manager (as a student!) of the choir’s East Asia trip many years ago, and he recently went through life-threatening surgery and listened to the choir as means of recovery (thanks Dr. Hasseler for that tid bit). Well it certainly worked. I can’t think of a better cure than music. It can get rid of the worst headache, heartache, sniffle, flu or anything really. This ancient remedy can be used by anyone, so long as they have the heart, soul and drive to do so (*hint hint*, we all have that, even if it’s hard to see).
You know I could really go on forever about how much this trip meant to me, how much Chapel Choir means to me, and how much music itself means to me…but I know I don’t need to, not for anyone’s benefit at least. I know for a fact we all learned, gained, experienced and shared something invaluable among ourselves. Whatever that may have been, just take a moment to reflect on it and how it came to be. How will it shape you in this next week? Month? Year? You’d be surprised at how far something can stick with you, if you let it at least. I’ve spent a good portion of my life thinking. As simple as that may seem it’s something I’ve always found solace in. Ruminative, pensive, introspective…whatever you may call it I’ll always attest to the importance of it. Obviously I think with myself, being an introvert, it may be more particular to my own stability. But no matter what kind of person you are, that inner dialogue is what can heal the deepest wounds, and cultivate the greatest thoughts. And what of music? Is it not true that music can also heal the deepest wounds and cultivate the greatest thoughts? Is music not just the outward expression of our own inner dialogue, weaving in and out of the collective unconsciousness that is the performer, the listener, the walls, the birds, the trees, and the earth? It’s times like the ones I’ve experienced in the past few days that makes me realize it’s all one in the same. The particular question or the correct answer really doesn’t matter, so long as they exist. Never forget simplicity.
I would be remiss if I ended my spiel without shedding light on the obvious thank yous that we all share. I truly think I would not be the same person at all, emotionally, musically, mentally, and spiritually if I had not taken that strange leap of fate and auditioned for the choir’s here at Capital, coincidentally becoming part of the Chapel Choir family. One of the most touching things about it is the fact I’ll always be welcomed to sing with my family once again, whether it’s five years from now, or five decades from now. Either way I know I’ll still be just as fervent and humbled to do so, as I am now. So now I regrettably let my thoughts wanders from this remarkable week to the ones ahead of me, but I am reminded that this time will always be with me. One of the most important things in my life is the ability to have as many experiences as I can, and use whatever power I can to share them as well.
If you just:
share the love, share the pain,
share the joy, share the strain,
the heart will find a way to see
that what’s left is you and me.
As I started, so shall I end with a quote by Rilke;
“But only someone who is ready for the everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence.”