When I moved to St. Michael's, one dream I'd had for a long time came true. I was able to join the choir. I joined last year during Lent, so it was sort of "baptism by fire" as we were very busy with rehearsals, practicing for Pascha. I fumbled along as best I could, singing quietly in the back row, learning as I went along. 90% of the music was utterly unfamiliar, and the 10% that I did know was sung with just enough musical variations that on those pieces I really had to stay on my toes.
But this post really isn't about me. I don't mean for it to be, at any rate.
Last night the choir had a little surprise party for our beloved Khouria Olga. She's officially not the choir director any more, as we're saying goodbye to her and Father this summer. They are moving to St. Tikhon's.
So, we gathered. We ate. People reminisced. Then we sang. Without music. We just sang for our choir director and our priest as a small spontaneous goodbye gift. We sang a version of Christ is Risen where the Soprano part is really high. We sang "O My Soul" for Father Alexander, since that's his favorite, and we sang something about "Now the powers of heaven do serve..." (I have been sitting here for several minutes trying to recall the exact words, and have failed). At any rate, our choir sang these pieces without relying on written music. Just paying attention to each other and our director.
And it was amazing. Amazing that we could sing this music that we don't normally sing week to week. Amazing that we sounded (to my ears) really really pretty.
We were carrying each other, as a group. No one voice stood out and at the parts where one might falter, another was there to lend a note and all we had to do was be in tune with each other and listen, and sing and it created something even bigger and better than even the sum total each individual.
In that moment, I knew what it means for the Church to be one body. That love, that listening, that carrying one another, so that the net result is bigger than the sum of the individuals.
Thanks be to God.