Looking over scores this evening and planning for the inaugural fall session for the Indianapolis Choral Artisans...a little over a month away! Can't wait to meet my new choral community!
Back in May of 1991, I recorded the centennial celebration at Carnegie Hall...this clip comes from one of my old VCR tapes. Peter Jennings & Beverly Sills introduce a special performance of the Hallelujah Chorus with Robert Shaw conducting.
"When we ask the question, 'what makes people sing together?', we may be coming from the wrong premise; trying to justify a human activity by its immediate advantage to the life of the species. This is a problem of western civilization - we've managed to separate "art" from daily life and thus subverted it. If we can start from the other end, with the premise we've been born with ears and voices and ask 'what are they for?' - the question becomes more fundamental.
Music is inherently social. We sing together because this physical art unites both sides of the brain: our reasoning powers and our emotions. Can this possibly be its principal function? That we are more "whole" when we sing than at any other time?
Is it possible that the ills of our society - alienation, anger, addiction, depression, loneliness, and much mental and physical trauma could be cured or at least alleviated by an immediate program encouraging choral singing?" (Composer and arranger Alice Parker)
The video vignette featured 48 hours from one of their residency internships, seeking to capture what makes a city great and breeds its creativity. The narrator opens with the following, “What helps breed a city’s creativity is…knowing the process of getting there can be just as great as the product itself…pursing beautiful things, just to see if they can be done. And when it has been done, it’s worth sharing – worth putting on display; bringing out the whole neighborhood to celebrate connection.” I really loved this fabulous statement, because it also captures precisely what a conductor and chorus hope to accomplish when learning a new piece of music. Whether it's a piece by J. S. Bach or a beautifully arranged folk song, good music works its own will in a certain way – it has its own organic inevitability. I'm looking forward to seeing how the arts will continue to be a binding force in Indianapolis - bringing people together to celebrate creativity and connection.