Greetings, my fellow choir enthusiasts!
Music is a sanctuary. It’s a place of hope, healing, rejuvenation, protection, solitude, and so much more. I’ve known this for several years now, but it has become more and more obvious to me over the past few months as I, ironically, feel the absence of choir in my life. I loved singing in the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir. It provided all these benefits and so much more. But today, I write to you from a different part of the sanctuary. I am no longer a member of the choir, blessed with the opportunity to give people music. Instead, this past weekend, I sat quietly in the Schwan Concert Hall, waiting to be warmed, motivated, and blessed by the music given by the members of the 2011-2012 Wisconsin Lutheran Choir in their Fall Showcase Concert.
I have thought about attending my first concert as an audience member for several years, as I watched past choir members join their ranks. I was not sure what my reaction would be. Would I still feel as moved by the music? Would it still put me in that fantastic trance of both energy and peace? As I watched the choir file on stage as part of their Fall Showcase Concert, I noticed many new faces mixed in with the familiar. I thought fondly back to my first weeks in choir, and worked hard to eliminate any pangs of envy I may have had floating through me. The music began before I knew if I was ready. After just a few notes, though, I began to relax. I was still in the sanctuary.
The experience was different. My feet did not hurt as I stood in my choir shoes. I was not sweating beneath my robe. Nerves were not running high. But, the music still took me in its hand and gently led me to that place of inner peace. Each song was an exploration of different texture and flavor of music. The music was introspective and thought provoking, bold and inspiring. Most importantly, the music was still an escape. Dr. Nowack always told us that we left our troubles, stress, and outside cares behind at the rehearsal hall doors. Music creates a wall of protection from those concerns. That is its power.
The beauty of the Wisconsin Lutheran Choir is that hundreds of students are blessed with the opportunity to glorify God in this way. We have been created to be the voice of God on earth. The music created by this choir goes beyond the simple power of music because they have the strength of belief as a foundation. This power is what completes the sanctuary, and what we carry away from it.
I regretfully left the peaceful sanctuary so beautifully created by the choir on Saturday night. Yet, I continue to hold that reminder of God’s presence in my heart. It’s a place I can go to when I need strength or peace. The music continues to live through this choir, and I know that I have been inspired by their witness. It is my hope and prayer that everyone who is a part of this wonderful process–director, choir members, and audience alike–will continue to carry this purpose and message with them. The music lives. Praise the LORD!
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Soli Deo Gloria,