Life as a Singer: Lynette 7/1/2014
It was an incandescent moment. We had just started the concert for our second night at the Ravinia Music Festival. We were singing a piece I’ve loved for a long time, Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium. The words were “et admirable sacamentum”. We hit this chord and it was as though the notes had become something luminous, a piece of shimmering air so fragile that it would evaporate with the slightest touch. I had never heard anything so beautiful. For somebody who’s been doing this for as long as I have, that means something. What amazed me perhaps even more was that the exact same thing happened multiple times before the piece was over.
This was the beginning of the concert, and it set the tone for the rest of the evening. After it came what I think was probably our best-ever performance of the Poulenc Mass in G. If you’ve never heard that work before, think “challenging”, “energetic”, “multi-layered” and “awesome”. One of the audience members, who appeared to have understood what an accomplishment he’d just heard, went quickly to his feet after its final note. We were on a roll.
After that, the evening simply unfolded from one glorious sigh-inducing moment to another. Tavener’s Funeral Ikos and (after intermission) his Song of Athene, Howell’s Take Him Earth for Cherishing, and then the Nocturnes. With the Nocturnes, we had come back to Lauridsen’s music, and that’s when I started to lose it.
I was fine through the achingly sweet Sa Nuit dété and the heart-wrenching Soneto de la Noche, but when it came to singing Sure on this Shining Night, on our final concert of the season, of our 10th year, at Ravinia, at the end of an amazing program, it was just too much. The music started looking blurry before I was half-way through the song. I only hoped Matt wouldn’t look too closely in my direction. I didn’t want it to be catching.
It was a moment choral singers live for and since that moment I have found myself telling everybody I can think of just how much it meant. It’s why we can sit on a bus for 7 hours each way and use up 3 hard-earned vacation days for the trip. It’s why we keep singing. It’s the music and we know it’s a gift–to us as we sing it and to you who hear it. And so I say to our director, keep it coming. Bring on the beauty and I can’t help but keep singing.
Wishing you the joy of incandescent moments of beautiful music.