Saturday, October 07, 2006

When Was The Last Time a Choir Made You Weep?

I attributed my tears to exhaustion and a bit of jet lag. I had been flying for two days and in meetings, so I was a bit burnt out when I hit the airport late Friday night. Martha greeted me with a surprise. She slipped a CD into the car stereo and punched track 8 and said listen. It was a glorious choral number acapella in Latin entitled "Lux Aeterna" by David Dickau. As we drove down the highway alone the ocean and the sopranos launched one descant after another, tears filled my eyes. The intonation was crisp and ennunciation clear as a bell. No individual voice dominated, but they sang as one worshiping voice.
It is the newest cd from the Northwestern College Choir in St. Paul under the direction of Tim Sawyer called "Transformation." It is a prelude to their tour of Eastern Europe. I'm not a music critic, or even much of a musician. So when Martha and I rode out to a dinner this afternoon and we played the cd, and then again after dinner, listening to every track, I was moved to tears again! This is choral music at its best.
Why is this something for me to comment on? Because I hear so much adequate music; music performed by good people with good intentions. I hear music, out of key, poorly harmonized, rhythmically boring, that audiences politely clap for. I get used to that which is around me, until the really superb comes along. I'm more than comfortable riding in a Volkwagen, until I'm riding in an Infiniti. MacDonalds coffee will do, until I sample a cup of robust Starbucks.
In a time when church music is often non-choral and choirs are considered outdated and a bit behind the times. I was refreshed to listen to choral sounds taht stirred me so deeply, from ancient Latin numbers to contemporary arrangements of "Wade In the Water" by Allen Koepke or "Witness" by Jack Halloran.
This is an album you need to buy. This is a choir you need to hear!


At 6:03 PM , Blogger Rick said...

OK, Don, I need to burn a CD copy of the recordings we did with John Lundberg directing the Westmont College Choir back in 77 & 78 and send it to you. Probably won't make you weep, but you'll enjoy it.

At 10:46 AM , Anonymous Warren said...

Wow! I am a member of Northwestern College Choir and I want to say thank you! We put so much work into every song on the Transformation CD, and it's good to hear that it moved you! (My personal favorite is "Blahoslovy Dushe Moya"). With sincere thanks,


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