Date: October 9, 2013
There was a transcendent moment in choir yesterday. The first note of “lux Arumque” was a stunning look into something greater in the universe, and I stopped the choir and just stared. Someone asked me “are you crying?” and I realized that I was. Now understand this—I am not a crier. I’ve spent my life not crying over anything sentimental or moving. But this few seconds of power stunned me and I was transfixed. I blubbered my thanks to the room full of high school students for ….. for getting it. And then for being willing to go to that place inside themselves and with each other that allowed the incredible magic to happen. We started again and sang through the piece with heightened awareness of the magic, and of what is possible. The stillness behind the singing was palpable. No one wanted to disrupt the shimmer in the air.
My next thought was “how do I explain this to the school board? How do I make this into a measureable objective? How do I prove to someone that was not in that room that learning is taking place? What we just experienced was so far beyond “sing a major scale in tune,” or “identify the minor triads.” As choral directors, these are the moments that keep us doing the job. But I will admit that I am a bit mystified by how to help someone who has never experienced it understand why it matters. Learning is taking place, but there are many educational experts who do not recognize this type of learning because it is not testable. Educational accountability demands numbers and percentages. Musical magic transcends numbers. It’s not a new question, but is there a way to do both things?