I’m going to sing today. With a group of 20 other women, and no accompaniment (mostly). I’m going to be one voice among many, provide my little piece of the whole. Together we will create something larger than any one of us could create by ourselves. I’m going to sing today, and just thinking about it makes my heart beat a little faster and open a little wider. These women and I, who meet for two hours once a week, will leave our ordinary lives tonight. We’ll leave behind our identities as wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, employees, business owners. We’ll cease the busyness of our everyday lives and will focus on the heartbeat of our music, becoming one cell in the organ of a pulsing heart. They say that scientists have put a two heart cells in a dish and watched them go from beating out of time to synchronizing in a matter of minutes. That’s what will happen when we take the stage tonight, all eyes on our director, and begin to sing.
I wonder how many groups of men and women have performed the same ritual in this very town over the past centuries. I can imagine 200 years ago, small groups of women meeting once a week to put aside their cares and sing. They were just like us –knew one another’s sorrows and joys, supported and encouraged one another. They experienced the oneness that comes when a group of voices sings together. I can imagine generations of families doing exactly what we do. It makes me feel connected to people I never knew. In a strange way, it makes me feel connected to everyone, to understand that we are all capable of the numinous experience. Of being part of something larger than ourselves.
Before I joined Femina Melodia, the last time I had sung in a chorus was in high school. It was a large chorus and Mr.Elia, a passionate man, infused us with a love of music. We sang Elijah, Carmina Burana, Deep River. I loved being immersed in the sound of over 100 voices. I loved being a part of it all. When I joined Femina Melodia, I thought it would be easy to sing my part, to find my place. But there was definitely a learning curve. The interesting thing about singing in a group is – you have to know your part, despite the confusion of hearing the other parts all around you. You have to know who you are and what you are expressing. Just like in life. Then you can blend easily and create beautiful harmony – or momentary dissonance – whatever is called for at that moment. It takes listening within and listening without. It takes tuning into the heart of yourself, then tuning into the heartbeat of the group. Holding my part as those around me sing theirs with strength and conviction is one of the most powerful experiences of my life.
So choirs, choruses, barbershop quartets, a cappella groups of glee – sing on. Keep on creating from the heart of music.