A Story You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Hear

I’ve been reflecting over the rise of Podcasts and how it has changed the method and content of what I listen to. (Both in the past and now, I listened to story-based reporting, a la NPR.)

Bear with me, this has a choral connection.

It seems to me that more and more I hear the stories I’m looking for, and fewer of the surprising stories I used to hear when I just tuned in to the radio. It happens less and less frequently that you hear a story you didn’t know you wanted to hear.

Today I heard a wonderful long-form story about 1992 & 1996 Olympic decathletes. Not a story I would have picked, but I’m trying to trust curators more and descriptions less. And boy am I glad I did – it was wonderful, and unlikely to be something I would have found if I didn’t trust Roman Mars.

I think that a big part of what choral conductors do is tell stories people don’t expect. I don’t think anyone (well, except you and me) walks into a concert hall hoping to hear stories from Alice Parker, Abbie Betinis, or Andrea Ramsey. Yet we tell them, and if we’re compelling and lucky in our tale, our audiences leave changed by the telling.

I’m trying to practice more openness to unexpected stories, and encouraging others to seek the same. It’s good for us, I think, to go on new journeys. On the radio or with a choir.