For the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of being able to sing with two different choirs–my local Choral Society and my church choir. But I hadn’t really stopped to think about how differently each choir affects my life, and how differently I sing in each setting. Both provide me with uplifting experiences, as you’ll see!
Choral Society: Performing with a Community of Singers
In my local Choral Society, I sing with a variety of other people in the community–some who have trained in professional solo singing, some who just enjoy singing for its own sake, some who also perform in small ensembles, some who use their voices as part of musical theater, etc. The common thread that binds us is that we all enjoy the craft of singing, and we’re all pretty great at it.
Because of this, I feel myself lifted to a higher standard of singing when I rehearse and perform with this group. I’m in the midst of lovely voices, and I have the honor of adding my voice to this. Within Choral Society, I can use my abilities to hold up the alto part, and both hear and see how our voices blend together in graceful swirls of colorful melodies (thanks to my synesthesia).
Church Choir: Performing for God
In church, I’m still singing alto with a choir, but I’m performing with a group of people who love to use music to praise God. That is our form of worship, to use our voices to tell about God’s power and grace; that is what pulls us together as a choir.
Because of this, I am less concerned with being as perfect as possible during “rehearsal” and “performance”–those two words don’t even really fit church choir, because every time you lift your voice in church, it’s just for God and no one else. Instead, I concern myself with understanding the meaning of the text we’re singing, letting that meaning move me emotionally, and allowing that emotion to be seen and felt through my singing.
And Yes, Both Experiences Are Perfectly Valid!
The best part about being able to sing in both of these choirs is that each experience brings me joy in a different way. In Choral Society, I enjoy music for music’s sake, and enjoy the process of learning, polishing, and performing choral works with others who are just as passionate about singing as I am. In church choir, I use music as a way to speak to God, reaffirming my own salvation story and experience of God every time I sing with the choir.
I enjoy both choirs, but for different reasons, and it’s a rather unique experience to have both those experiences in my life. I love that about the arts–they are so malleable that they work into every area of your life and give it a little touch of awesome.