segunda-feira, setembro 21, 2015

I sing therefore I am: "One Day, One Choir - Singing for World Peace"

Following on the footsteps of last year's celebration, this world-wide singing event, this time taking place in Portugal at Campo Grande's Church, happened once again, also with the participation of our own choir of "N. S. do Amparo" (see picture above with N. S. do Amparo's choir members, myself included).

When I sat down to write this post I kept wondering. Why do I love choir singing? Does the question make any sense at all? Do I ask myself why I walk and talk and eat? Maybe the question should be "Why shouldn't I love singing in a choir" instead. For me singing sacred songs is first and foremost a way of giving voice to a strong emotion and sharing it with the world. On top of that, choir singing makes me feel good in several ways: lots of times when I’m engaged in something physical and enjoyable like walking, cycling or singing the oxytocin is released in my blood stream and I get "high"...I believe singing should be part of the national health service...Another reason for loving singing with others is that singing this way creates something which is greater than the individuals involved. This is one of the cases wherein the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Last but not least, and because music came before language, music and singing in particular it's a fundamental aspect of the human condition, encoded into our human genome. We all feel the drive to sing, but not all of us feel prepared to break down barriers.  I started singing as a tenor when I met my wife, who's a wonderful contralto, and I never looked back.

When I hear Scholl singing Händel's "Ombra mai fu" (I've had the pleasure of hearing Scholl singing live several times, the last time in 2012 at Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, and he always delivers the goods...), we can understand why singing is one of the most important human endeavours. On hearing Bach I feel as if I am now fully satisfied since I have seen my Redeemer...Wenn ich Bach höre, bringt es mir die Tränen in die Augen...

At the end of the event, and as bonus, we had a free style performance at the organ by none other than Professor Leonor Cadete. Father Feytor Pinto commented at the time he didn't know he had a pipe organ in his church capable of producing such a strong and full of emphasis sound...

This year's event recording hasn't been made available yet. To whet one's appetite, here's "Laudate Dominum" from last year's performance. Also the full event can be found here.
NB: Rilke expressed it beautifully: "Gesang ist Dasein".

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