I joined the small but mighty choir at All Saints a couple weeks ago. I was hesitant to do so, what with my hearing and my aging voice and brain–but I am so happy I decided to jump in. I relish the work I find myself doing to keep up.
I managed to find my voice recorder in one of the boxes I had not yet unpacked from my recent move, and even found the extra supply of batteries. So I brought it with me to choir practice last Wednesday evening. The recorder is a helpmate for my Tetris-like thought and memory process.
In case you are not familiar with the computer game, Tetris: The game involves a series different shaped blocks floating from the top to the bottom of the screen, and the object of the game is to fit them together properly before it’s too late.
I can almost physically see my thoughts and ideas working their way down to where they belong these days. Mostly it is just a matter of time, and they do get there eventually; but sometimes “eventually” is a little out of sync with the immediate need.
At any rate, I took out my trusty recorder and the sheet music and worked on it all this morning, and it gave me so much pleasure to sing these hymns and feel any missing links fall into place.
Singing was my most natural expression of joy at an early age. My favorite pass-time was swinging in the backyard while I sang at the top of my lungs. Whenever we were on family trips or “Sunday drives” I opened the window and sang with the wind blowing my voice back into my face.
I am told that the first time my mom took me to Mass, I jumped up and started singing “Too-t00-tootsie, Good-bye” when the bells were rung during Consecration.
I guess singing has always been something like a prayer to me, no matter what words were coming out.
At choir practice, we were working on mostly classical and traditional hymns, but one of the songs was contemporary. It was clear that this was a digression from the usual choices for this choir. I have to say, I love singing the more difficult work but bursting out with the simpler hymn is also a joy.
It seems that when we work hard on creating a beautiful and complicated piece to present during the service we hope to show how deeply we respect and honor God. But when we sing something simple, we are showing our vulnerability, admitting that we are but naked, helpless children before God.
Both approaches are valid recognition of God and our relationship with him.
This thought also rings true to me in regard to traditional worship services and churches versus the new modern Christian churches in their various contemporary forms.`