For many of us, our ensemble rehearsals and performances are cancelled for the foreseeable future. The community found within the choral rehearsal or in the concert between singers and audience is now even more precious since we find ourselves without the ability to make music – together. Resulting feelings of sadness, frustration, pessimism, loneliness and even a bit of anger are real emotions for many. These emotions, though real, are obviously negative. There are virtual ways of addressing some of these concerns and I am sure that we will become very creative in seeking more ways and methodologies as we move into unchartered waters. However, we must try to replace those feelings with ones of intentional positivity.
Looking for ways to seek beauty and reminding ourselves that we are all in this together, with more in common than we have differences is very important. This need was vividly demonstrated by the Facebook posts from the streets of Italy as people stood with their windows open and sang from their hearts in unison. It was further underscored this past Sunday afternoon as Joyce DiDonato and Piotr Beczala sang excerpts from “Werther” from her apartment living room as appreciative listeners from around the world were joined in community (LIVE) through their music.
Community is at the heart of what we do as musicians, but most especially, as singers. Each of us possesses that God-given instrument, the voice. Recent studies from Sweden show that when choirs sing, after a period of time, heart beats begin to sync with one another (Vickhoff et al., 2013). Through song, our hearts seem to become ‘one.’ Though ‘different,’ we are reminded of the commonalities that make us also ‘same’ – each of us in need of solace which music can provide. We can either respond to our situation with hurt, sadness, and frustration or we can become more intentional in our approach toward sharing our music and our hearts with others, reaching out by email, phone, Facetime, through all the mediums that are available to us – to lift the spirit of those around us — perhaps, to share a recording, or a word or just a thought.
We need each other and a sense of community. Music and song – from the past, from the present, and that which will come in the future will continue to be one of the ties that binds us together and uplifts our spirits even during this challenging time.