D. Randall Faro
Sound Waves Extraordinaire
Eighty-one voices tuned to near perfection as they sang out the creations of composers, lyricists, arrangerers, and directors. It was a harmonic blend of seventeen sopranos, thirty-one altos, fifteen tenors, and eighteen basses that stirred the depths of one’s being. It reaffirmed Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly’s observance that the human soul has regions which can be illuminated only by music.
The Capital City Chorus in Olympia, Washington is an example of the life-giving impact of music. Their recent concert, An Evening of American Composers, filled the hall with the spirits of Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Moses Hogan, Gail Kubik, Peter Wilhousky, and more. The Battle Hymn of the Republic elicited a mixture of cheers and tears with sound waves that would delight any divinity. The whole experience was filled with power and delight.
Music does that . . . which is why these people articulated the following: “Music is life itself.” Louis Armstrong “Beautiful music is the art that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” Martin Luther “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” Ludwig van Beethoven
To be sure, solo performers can make wonderful music. But eighty-one voices symphonically joined takes things to another level. Not only can it elevate the musical experience for the listeners, but doing something marvelous together that would be impossible to do alone affirms human community in each singer. We cannot help but sing . . . and part of being human is the drive to sing together.
The Divje Babe Flute is a cave bear femur pierced by spaced holes that was found by archeologists in Slovenia. It is thought to be an ancient Neanderthal flute some 40,000+ years old. The point: music has been in our bones since the dawn of humanity. To live without it is . . . well, inhuman.