Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monday Night Services

I sing in an amateur choir, which my wife and I auditioned for about a year ago. I've never really done anything like it before, and, frankly, I'm a little out of my league surrounded by so many experienced singers. But I really enjoy the weekly chance to step out of the daily punishments of life and just create beautiful music.

We've just started working up our spring repertoire, and one of the pieces we're doing is Morten Lauridsen's Sure On This Shining Night. I have a hard time singing this, even though it's still in "practice mode" (I can only imagine where we'll be in two months!) because it is so spiritually moving to me. I literally choke up at certain points. Yet the lyrics are completely secular, based on the poem by James Agee--

Sure on this shining night
Of star-made shadows round
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground

The late year lies down the north,
All is healed, all is health
High summer holds the earth,
Hearts all whole

Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
Wandring far alone
Of shadows on the stars.

I don't have a good place to recommend for a professional recording of this, but YouTube has a pretty good recording of a Taiwanese group performing it. It doesn't do it justice compared to performing it, but I just find this a truly beautiful piece of poetry and music.

When my Sunday's leave me feeling frustrated and generally unfulfilled, it's nice to know I communion with God (to the extent an agnostic can) every Monday.