Twice a year I get to unite current and past members of my choir.
First came the spring concert, which we close every year with our version of Stand By Me, combining the current group and all alums.
For the last three years, though, it has been the Aces Christmas party I most look forward to.
Having current students and alums together is beautiful. They get to share experiences, recognize commonalities. The alums can reminisce about happy times; the current students can look at the alums and imagine their future.
And the singing! Because I use recurring programming for a portion of my music each year, they share a lot of musical threads. I pulled out my trusty pitch pipe and gave them the first note of a song every Ace knows; from there, we sang through about five familiar pieces, ending with Stand By Me.
We closed our singing portion of the evening with our new commission May, which has yet to be premiered. The alums sight read and the current students sang what they knew. They were excited to be among the first to hear it or sing it, knowing that it came into existence thanks to their work in the past.
It was beautiful, stirring, powerful to see men I used to conduct every week, diligently sight reading and singing their hearts out.
The bonds we build through singing are strong; what’s remarkable about this experience is that it shows that those bonds can connect us to people we’ve never met, but who share a common experience.