This past weekend I performed in a concert of Handel's Messiah. Since September I have been singing with a group of concert singers, going through each choral piece from this intricate opera note by note. I have been challenged as a musician and most certainly as a singer, which is not anything I've been specifically trained in. Our group of 30 combined with another local group of about 75 to make a most magnificent choir.
Our first concert was in the United Church here in town, an old stone soaring cathedral built in the 1800s. As our voices combined into musical chords the sound filled the structure and created the most incredible resonance. Even the echoing silence after a note was cut off gave goosebumps.
I have never heard The Messiah all the way through before. I didn't know the string of scriptures that made up the story. I had never seen the intricate runs of 16th notes. But as I basked in such quality music week after week, it made me realize how much cultural junk food seeps into our daily lives. While art can be entertaining, it is at its most powerful when it is reflecting us as a society, challenging us, or celebrating beauty. Much of what we (I) consume these days falls short.
A friend recently wrote about finishing a year of great classical reads. It's been a while since I cracked open one of these classic tomes, and his musing awakened in me the old yearning to really sink my teeth into something profound.
Likewise, I want to fill my children's lives with things "virtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, of good report." I love how inspired I am by the good art of the world, and I want to make sure my children are too.