Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

26 September 2007

"It Is Something to Have Wept"

Text by Gilbert Keith Chesterton:

It is something to have wept as we have wept, and something to have done as we have done;
it is something to have watched when all have slept, and seen the stars which never see the sun.

It is something to have smelt the mystic rose, although it break and leave the thorny rods;
it is something to have hungered once as those must hunger who have ate the bread of gods.

To have known the things that from the weak are furled, the fearful ancient passions, strange and high;
it is something to be wiser than the world, and something to be older than the sky.

Lo, and blessed are our ears for they have heard: yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen:
let the thunder break on human, beast and bird, and lightning. It is something to have been.

I really like this text, it has a mystery to it, and the song backs it up--though the text lays mighty strangely over that very last line. It is good to be singing more.

Tonight I did something slightly cool. I've started to sing with a local church choir, a Unitarian Church choir, and it was my second rehearsal tonight. This choir has been, astondingly, short of sopranos. Usually in a choir you can shoot half the sopranos and not miss them at all: not so here. While there were fifteen people at the first rehearsal that I attended, there were only seven there this evening, no basses (the low men's part), only two sopranos (the high women's part, including me). The other soprano is the woman who recruited me most enthusiatically.

We were singing a piece called 'Everybody Rejoice', and because this is what I do when I can, I was singing the second soprano part, harmony just a little lower, when it existed. Harmony is always more fun than melody, in my estimation. At the very end, in tiny script, the sopranos can hit an optional high 'A'. This is fairly standard for a first soprano, I've seen many parts that go up to a high 'C', still within expected bounds. My fellow soprano turned to me and said "I'm not really a first soprano. Can you hit that 'A'?" I said yes, and the director said, "Then do it." So I did.

Many things about singing are a challenge to me, but singing high notes is not one of them. I am a very good choral singer, and singing with this group makes me want to do the happy dance over and over, I'm that excited about singing in a choir again, practicing the skills of sight reading, blending, harmonies, new songs, difficult rhythms: it's all food for the happiness.

So I hit the 'A', knowing that I hit the 'D' above it in my lesson the other day, knowing that I can sing this straight and clear and on pitch like a little choirboy, and they said: "Huh. That'll break glass."

Again, it's not the most difficult thing that I do. It feels like cheating to be praised for it. But it's still nice to be able to do something just a little cool.



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