Welcome to Renate's Baton. This blog is mostly for and about my choir, The York Region Community Choir.

But, While I'm holding the baton, I'm in charge. So, if I want to talk about other parts of my life, I will. :)

The choir itself is a community and I'm discovering that we have a lot in common with one another besides our love of music and singing.

When I go off on a tangent, there is always a crowd coming along. Join us!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The choir of life sounds great

"When we pay attention to nature's music, we find that everything on Earth contributes to its harmony."

As the conductor of a choir, I feel this keenly. In the choir, every kind of chorister adds her voice-the sweet, the crabby, the loud, the quiet, perfect pitch and perfect timing and the opposite too- but the whole is not the sum of the parts. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. And, the song is different depending on the perspective of the one who's listening.

What I hear when we perform a song that we've learned is harmony and love. I have put my love into it and it comes back to me multiplied. I don't hear the disappointment of the perfectionist who didn't get every single part right. I don't hear the missing voice when someone chooses not to sing. I don't hear the discord of a sour relationship between 2 sopranos. I hear that I have taught them well, and the strong are carrying the weak. I hear the choir singing the song together and the result is more than pleasing: it is electrifying and satisfying because I contributed well.

I love all the songs. I love the sweet ones and the grand ones, the jazzy ones and the funny ones. The easy ones are great and the difficult ones are great. I love the choristers too.

My choristers don't always understand that a performance went well. They don't have my perspective. They are in the middle of the choir, hearing the wrong notes and wondering about the singers who don't make a sound. They feel their own mistakes as huge distractions from the beauty of the song. I tell them not to worry, to try to relax and have fun. If they're doing their best, then it will turn out fine. Where they are weak, others will be strong. When they listen to a recording of the choir, they are surprised at how wonderful it is.

I see a life lesson in this choir experience.

The better the weather gets, the more I think about being outdoors instead of sitting at my computer. I want to go back to my childhood summer days at the cottage without even a TV, a really simple time spent mostly in the open. There was big open water, dense forest, fields of cows, and gravel roads. There were rocks and there was soft moss and poison ivy. There were storms and there were days when the lake was so calm and silent it was like a sheet of glass. It was wonderful. I am happy that my children also have some memories of that place and that way.

When I was a child, I just lived it and enjoyed it without thinking about it much. When I gave the experience to my children it was with intention and awareness. When I think back on it, I recapture that harmony and it inspires me to try my best and to relax, and to be mindful of my contribution and my perspective.

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