What do I love to help people with? I love to reveal to people the beautiful music hidden in their souls.
When a shy teen reluctantly shows up for a choir rehearsal (I may have bribed him), accepts a sheaf of sheet music with bewilderment written all over his face, and barely makes a sound for the whole hour and a half, I’m giddy with hope.
I’ve directed volunteer choirs for nearly my entire adult life, skipping a couple years here and there. I especially enjoy enticing unsuspecting nascent singers who’ve never thought they could hold a tune, or learn harmony, or enjoy choir music or even be accepted in such a group…and then seeing their surprise and pleasure at what they can do. I love to decode the mathematically elegant written language of music for those who have never encountered it, or who thought it more foreign than Chinese. It gives me great joy to encourage and watch a quiet, tentative singer grow. I smile as she finds her voice and eventually rejoice as she belts out the top notes of a solo with confidence and skill.
Even better is the opening up of hearts when a choir accepts a newbie and loves them as family. Because a choir is a family. You don’t work hard to make beautiful music together week after week without some serious bonds being formed! More experienced singers point out what page we’re on, or ask to have that bit over again please (for the newbie’s benefit but don’t tell them that!). Choir members pray for each other, cry with each other through bad times, rejoice in each other’s happy happenings. The best choirs don’t fuss too much about perfection in their fellow singers. I aim for it as director, but not at the expense of the joy of learning the music and the plain old fun of hearing it sound better and better until we’re all amazed at what we did together. The joy is the thing, not perfection.
And the joy can be exquisite. When the music you are singing exalts God, your heart exalts God. This is a novel experience for some folks. Occasionally a new singer meets God for the first time while singing praises to Him. Not just a generic god either, but the God of the Bible, who is Love and who died so we could live and be loved forever. This is the sweetest joy of all: to experience welcoming a person not only into the loving family of a choir, but into the crazy, eternal, globe-spanning, supernaturally loving family of God.
Yeah, I love to direct choirs.