#67: Friday, January 1, 2021
2021: The Year Ahead…
I suspect that many of us are in a similar place right now: still reeling from the challenges of the semester/quarter/season that just finished, and overwhelmed with contemplating the one that is very soon to come. On top of that, we find ourselves divorced from our regular year-end concerts, holiday performances, and religious musical traditions. And, quite possibly, spending hours in front of a computer doing music-adjacent work for a virtual song/project/concert, but without any of the actual community music-making that feeds us as musicians. And that’s just the choir-related part of things! Suffice to say, it’s been a rough 2020 all ‘round.
So…what should I write on this first blog of 2021, on New Year’s Day no less?
The old adage is: “The show must go on.” But I’d like to propose an update: “The show will go on.” Somehow, some way, music will find a way to continue. Group music-making of all kinds has been hard-hit this past year, choral music in particular. There are so many questions for the next months ahead, which vary drastically depending on your state, your type/level/age of ensemble, your audience, vaccine availability, etc. The “how” of things will look different for each choir and each director and each school or program.
But the bottom line is this – at some point in the future, it will be safe to sing again. And people will be drawn to that – singers and audience alike. The show, in fact, will go on. (Just thinking about that future concert, even just a future “normal” rehearsal, makes me tear up a little.) It is so hard to see that far forward right now, when we’re all in the middle of the weeds, but it will happen.
When that day finally comes, we need to be ready. For that inevitable beautiful, amazing, and magnificent future time, I have a few repertoire suggestions from past blogs. Uplifting, empowering songs for that first concert, or that first season. Works about the beauty of music and the beauty of life. It will take a lot of work and patience to rebuild our programs, but those first beautiful notes of group singing will be more than worth it. And I for one cannot wait.
Goodbye to 2020. Hello to a happy, healthy, and reinvigorated 2021.
Until next month!
Dr. Shelbie Wahl-Fouts is Director of Choral Activities and associate professor of music at Hollins University, a women’s college in Roanoke, Virginia.