Thursday, 28 June 2012

Thank you for the music

Wednesday is a favourite day of the week.
After work, I head to a local community hall and meet up with a group of people who were strangers to me months ago. Some of them are people I probably wouldn't come across too often in my daily life.

The hall we meet in is big and plain, with old net curtains and a stage jutting out at one end. There's a faded old piano on the stage, a little battered around the edges.

Many of the people that go to this hall on Wednesday nights are also a little battered around the edges. Some are refugees, a couple of them Sudanese woman with velvety ink skin and amazing hair and smiles. There's a few in the group that have obviously suffered great hardships and come for the food as much as anything.  Some are struggling with illness or depression. Others are just lonely and wear it like a cloud around them.

Then there's the rest of us, in our black workwear with lives full of family, love, purpose.

We are there to sing together. Sometimes imperfectly but more often richly, voices soaring, bodies swaying.

Some of us - me included - have been told we couldn't sing. To "sshh" while the song bubbled inside.
Now we sing loudly and we sound beautiful.

I've been coming to choir for most of this year. It's a release and a joy and the enormity of that took me by surprise.

Initially I barely squeaked out the words, miming when the song went high and I lacked belief. But now I let my voice go where it will and those around me take me with them.

After we sing, sandwiches and fruit, doughnuts and cakes are bought out. Some in our choir fall on them like they haven't eaten for days and they probably haven't. Those who have food at home hang back, and those that need to put extra in their pockets.

There is such courage and beauty in the coming together of our voices.

It's a beautiful experience. On Monday, I will sing in my second public concert. And it will be joyous!


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