Mrs. Blogmeister made a point of commenting on the celebration of Cam Shuford’s life…she said it was the most moving version of “‘O ‘Oe ‘Io” that she’d ever heard and it brought her (and most of the gathering) to tears. I was looking around a bit as we sang “Grace” and the same was true (a mistake on my part ’cause that choked ME up too). It’s not surprising, we were all deeply engaged in the emotion of the moment and that found its way to our voices. Were the songs perfect? Probably not. Were they sung from that deep place that changes how the sound comes out? Absolutely.
I think there’s a lesson here worth exploring a bit. Let’s express it with two questions:
- What is the composer telling us?
Every song tells a story, we need to delve into it to discover what it might be. It could be the simple expression of an emotion, explaining a place or person or darn near an entire novel. If it’s in another language it’s even MORE important to understand this because…
- What are we telling our audience?
We’re telling that story and it’s our responsibility to give it the attention and respect necessary to do so. Sometimes that’s pretty easy, sometimes you have to work at it. If you’re singing in the aforementioned foreign language (and 99% of the audience doesn’t speak it) you have to tell it with your dynamics, inflection, diction (yeah, that counts even in latin) and especially that difficult-to-define “something” inside you that can tell a story with just your eyes and your face and your body language. You have a lot more tools in your belt than just the notes and using them all shares the joy of music in its entirety.
With the addition of our own personal feelings about where and why we are singing there is a power there that can move mountains.