At 11 PM on Christmas Eve, I was bristling with nervousness in the choir room in St. Luke’s. The moment of truth was to dawn in a few minutes and I was nervous. Let me explain. This Christmas I wanted our choir to sing a few numbers in the classical style complete with a four part vocal harmony. And for the first time I was actually conducting my choir for a big occasion. And the day was Christmas 2006.
After several hectic practices that were crammed in the last week we scraped together a collection of songs that spanned different genres and styles. From our usual “jing-bang” numbers to the sublime classical they were all there. And to render them was assembled the best people I have seen in a while.
Of great concern in the Catholic church is the decline of good classical church music primarily because the old school of musicians passed away without building up a sound second line and secondly because of the lack of good trainers today. So even though it has been a long cherished dream of singing classical music my lack of musical knowledge and training coupled with my inability to play any instrument was the biggest handicap to achieving my dream coupled with the fact that our choir if we may be permitted to call ourselves thus is made up of a group of enthusiastic singers with very little music in them but who compensate with tremendous enthusiasm, dedication and hard work.
So relying purely on the ability of self and of the choir to memorize the various parts; we worked on them till we managed to make discord sound like music. It was a dream come true during practice but could we replicate it all on the big day?
We did our best and we even sang the acappella version of “Silent Night” in addition to other carols that I arranged with simple harmonies. Were we good? I do not know. But I do know that it is not impossible to dream and make dreams come true.
I did get words of appreciation from a few and the usual brickbats from a few after the service but I truly know that my choir had done a truly wonderful job and our great journey has begun. We have taken the baby steps to being a truly good choir and we have not fallen.
Skeptics had written off my dream and even worse mocked the ability of my choir to sing but on that night, that Holy Night a new beginning was made.
Becoming a truly good choir is within our grasp. We need a little help from good music teachers, lots of hard work and commitment from everyone and above all the blessings of God for whom we sing.
Kudos to every member of the choir who sang that night, who backed me till the end.
I am proud to have been a part of this beginning and I pray that we go to great heights.