Posted on July 28, 2009 by Michael
I recently returned from a Baltic cruise that included many wonderful ports. One of my favorites was Tallinn, Estonia. Many of you may remember that Estonia was one of the Soviet satellites and regained its independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Leading to that day was something called the Singing Revolution. The Estonian people, always known for their love of singing, participated in a non-violent protest of the Soviet occupation of their land. The protest, which lasted from 1988 to 1991, began with over 300,000 people singing patriotic songs of protest and solidarity at the Song of Estonia Festival in Tallinn.
The singing continues in Estonia and I missed by only three days the Estonia Song and Dance Celebration, in which 26,000 choir singers joined together to perform Estonian folk songs. While I was sorry to miss the Celebration, I was heartened to see the smiles on the faces of the Estonian people during my visit, and couldn’t help but think the recent singing many of them had experienced had something to do with the happy expressions.
While most of us will never have an opportunity to sing in a chorus of 300,000 or even 26,000, I believe many have had some meaningful “large chorus” experiences. It may have been a regular large chorus of which you have been a member, or a special festival chorus, such as an All State Chorus. I’d love to hear from you about these experiences. Share your best “large chorus” memory.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: All State Chorus, Estonia, Large chorus | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 8, 2009 by Michael
These past several weeks I’ve been especially impressed to see and hear the 170 or so persons who have chosen to participate in The Michael O’Neal Summer Singers (MOSS). The background of these singers is varied, ranging from novice singers to seasoned professionals. However, it is this wide difference in experience that, for me, makes MOSS one of my most satisfying conducting ventures of the year. I see MOSS as a sterling example of choral music at its essence; creating something beautiful and meaningful as a group, and something we could never do as individuals. It reminds us of the Gestalt theory in which we recognize that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Choral music has provided me with so many wonderful experiences over the years, some of which were musical and some emotional, but often a combination of both. Many times the experience has been shared with my fellow singers, although there have been instances where the group involvement has led to a very singular and personal experience.
All of this that I have mentioned above has created for me a lifetime of choral memories, and it is hard to imagine my life without them. I sense that most of you who take the time to read my little “musings” in this blog have had many meaningful choral memories as well. I wish you would share them in this space, not only as an opportunity to pay tribute to the memory, but also as a way to share with other interested persons why we all love choral music. These memories could be based on something that happened in your childhood or as recently as last year. I look forward (we all look forward) to hearing what you have to say.
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: choral music, memories, The Michael O'Neal Summer Singers | 5 Comments »