I phoned my younger daughter five years ago and asked her, “Do you ever think something is so beautiful that the thought goes through your head, ‘If I were to die right now in the midst of such beauty, it would be ok.’?”
I had passed the audition for choir and was heady with the music we were singing. The two major pieces we were rehearsing were Vivaldi’s Gloria and one of Mozart’s masses. They were both pieces I knew, but had thought I would never have the opportunity to perform. It was like I was dancing inside all the time, I was so excited. When I sang, especially those pieces, my voice blending with all the others, I felt as though the beauty was palpable. I didn’t know if anyone else ever felt that way.
My daughter thought for a long minute. Then, “I wouldn’t use those words, but yes. When I am working in the lab, what I am always looking for is truth. And when I get good data, that’s what I have found: truth. And that is the most incredible feeling on earth.”
It is hard to describe the part singing plays in my life. It grounds me. It heals me. It helps me process grief, and give me deep joy. I feel whole when I sing. One of my favorite days of the year is our fall Saturday rehearsal/retreat where we rehearse from 8am – 3:30pm. (With breaks of course.) This last fall, my energy only allowed me to stay 2 hours, with part of that time lying down. Even so, when I got home, my husband said, “I love it when you go the fall rehearsal!” I asked him why, and his response was, “You are always so happy when you come home.”
This year in choir has been a struggle. In the fall, I could only stay at rehearsal for 30 minutes. I slowly built up my rehearsal time to 2 hours. But it is the one thing I have refused to give up. I have frequently said over the years that if I couldn’t sing, I think I would die. Part of my concept of heaven is that I will be able to sing as much as I want and have the technique to sing anything I want, (The role of Suzanna in Rosini’s opera The Barber of Seville comes to mind,) and that God will teach me how to play the cello. But I’d prefer for that not to happen just yet. I am content to feel like I’m in heaven when I’m learning and singing difficult and beautiful music.
6 thoughts on “Dancing Inside”
Hi — We all so much need a connection outside ourselves to beauty or spirituality or that ineffable otherness. Music is yours!
I am reading this a listening to Epiphanies . I understand your passion perfectly
You have a deep spiritual connection to music and singing. I think we all have a connection with some type of music but may not have a clear flowing path to our inner self but I believe you do, Hannah, that is why you are so happy singing. Musical vibrations can be mystical 🙂
They definitely can. And that means they can be healing as well, not only for the singer, but for those who listen.
There are a lot of energies activated while singing in a choir. When I was in school we had a big choir. I remember how we were singing a long, old, rare, pagan carol, about a lion, with a very alert but hypnotic rhythm. It was a breath exercise. But while singing, something was happening. We all were feeling that something is about to happen, we were waiting for something else, not for applause. It was magic.
Yes! You have experienced that “other worldliness” that singing in a group can bring!