Thursday, April 28, 2011

Turn Your Lights Off and Close Your Eyes

Yes. You read right. I want you to turn off your lights and close your eyes while you are listening to the piece of music at the end of this post.

When I was much younger, I discovered that I heard music more fully if I listened to it in the darkness with my eyes closed. I guess, without visual distractions, my ears and my mind are more capable of hearing and seeing the music I'm  listening to if I listen to it in the dark with my eyes closed.

The piece I'm sharing with you here is "God So Loved The World" by John Stainer. It is a classic standard of sacred music. Every choir with a sacred repertoire has sung it. Or should have. It is a gorgeous piece of music, yet so deceptive. At first hearing, it sounds very simple, but that is further from the truth. The harmonies are so close and oh so difficult to master. While I admit that my little church choir hasn't mastered this piece, we do sing it with much success and with great conviction.

When I think of how we rehearse our music without a pianist and that we dare approach difficult music, I am truly amazed. Our choir rehearsals late Saturday afternoons are such a creative challenge and pleasure. We start at 4:00 and are always surprised and disappointed when we look up at the clock to see 6:00 swiftly approaching. During the Easter Sunday service, after hearing this piece, our preacher, Norman Lee, encouraged the congregation to applaud for us and he explained why he was encouraging the applause. He said that most people do not realize the time, effort, challenge, talent and training that is involved in what we do, nor do people realize how difficult it is to produce such music given temperaments and personalities that can be present in such a group, and how rare it is that a group of people can actually get along and enjoy the time and effort they share as we do. I love to go to a fine restaurant and savor well prepared, spectacular ingredients. Saturdays at 4:00 at The United Church of New Marlborough gives me the exact same pleasure.

So, as I said earlier, turn off your lights and close your eyes to listen to this piece. Don't just think "yeah, yeah, whatever". Turn off the lights, close your eyes, and listen to the music and the message. (In case you're wondering, I'm the bass.)

Thank you, Lord.