“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” Pope John Paul II
It’s another Pandemic Holy Week. A little better than last year’s, because things are a little bit better. At least we’re prepared to worship differently if need be during this strange time.
We might be worshipping via Zoom or virtually with a recorded service on YouTube. We might be in a parking lot, playing a keyboard while folks in their cars sing along with their windows shut. Or we might be able to have a real service, in our real sanctuary with social distancing and masks. In any of these situations the planning, the coordination, the solving of technical glitches and soothing of congregants is mind-boggling. Choral Folk are creative, Choral Folks are resilient and if this past year is any example, able to rise to any challenge. I have confidence you will be able to do whatever you need to do this Holy Week.
Since I was a young Church Musician, I’ve always thought of Lent as a journey we must go through, with Easter as the destination. For forty days, we work through our personal journeys of discovery, with twists and turns and tunnels and difficulties, with bright shiny Easter our goal. Many years, I’ve given things up for Lent, then appreciate them even more when Easter arrives. Giving things up is purely voluntary but it’s a big part of my personal Lenten Journey. It might be something silly like giving up chocolate or potato chips or perhaps not watching a favorite television show or postponing seeing a new movie. I’ve found, not only do I appreciate those things more, but always realize how lucky I am to be able to have them.
Like many of you, I’ve been stressed and unhappy through much of the last year. But last week I had a thought that changed my whole outlook; the Pandemic is a sort of a Lenten Journey we must all get though, and its eventual end is a sort of Easter, except giving things up is mandatory. All of us have had to give up so many things, including singing together. We’ve been forced to completely change everything we do–from how we shop for groceries and essentials to how we celebrate, and WITH WHOM we can celebrate, holidays and life events. Our lives have been upended, our health has been in peril and we’ve been kept from our loved ones.
I’ve felt better since I changed my mindset about the Pandemic; now I can see there will be an “Easter” for us all. I am finally able to plan and feel comfortable about doing so. I was able to switch a long-postponed concert to mid-November with my venue, something I had been worrying about for months. Being able to do that was a HUGE help for my mental well-being.
I also have been thinking about the Black Plague during the Middle Ages, and how after it came the Renaissance. I hope there will be a surge (in a GOOD way) of desire for singing together and the making art of all sorts together, a sort of New Renaissance for the Arts. I don’t want to get all “Pollyanna” about the Pandemic. It’s been awful for everyone, but perhaps Art will not only flourish but matter more than it ever has to us as artists and to our audiences. And that’s something to think about as we head toward Easter.
Note to my ChoralNet Readers: Last year, much to my shame, I re-ran a past Holy Week blog because I couldn’t, just couldn’t, write anything new. I had hoped ChoralNetters would take it as hopeful, as I had intended, and a way of remembering what we had before the Pandemic and what we will have again. Many of you understood what I was trying to do while some of you did NOT and reached out to me. I received emails scolding me as well as comments on some of the social media outlets on which I share this Blog. You were hurting and I wasn’t helping.
I resolved there and then not to re-run any Blog which could potentially hurt someone during these difficult times. The Blogs I did choose to re-run in December I hope gave some hope. Next week, I WILL be re-running another past Blog I’ve run before, a Blog about April being Autism Awareness Month. Again, it is with hope and compassion I share this particular Blog in our difficult times. Can I get a Hallelujah?
Until next week, be well and be safe!
I am taking my Choral Ethics Blogs to my chamber choir’s Facebook page for the foreseeable future. Please join me there this morning! https://www.facebook.com/themidwestmotetsociety/