“…and let the music we sing be the song of our hearts.” I don’t remember the exact words our choir director used, but in a brief moment of prayer before our Easter cantata, I realized why I sing in the choir.
I’ve always loved to sing. Most kids do, I think. In my early years I was drawn to music, although it wasn’t a large part of my life. I didn’t study it or read a lot about it, although I did learn about Beethoven from Schroeder of the Peanuts comic. I learned song lyrics, although I rarely knew who sang what or what album it came from. Imagine my mom’s surprise when I came home from a sleep-over at nine years old singing, “Like a Virgin.”
On the other hand, nothing seems to resonate with me more emotionally and spiritually than a song. There’s something about music that penetrates all defenses and makes its way to the very soul of a person.
So I’ve always sang in the choir. I always wanted to be a part of making beautiful music, to take apart the notes, rhythms, and dynamics and then put them together with melodies and harmonies and worship God with my voice.
I’m not very good. I heard a recording of myself as a child singing Silent Night. It was pretty awful. I apparently don’t have a natural talent for hearing or matching pitches. I used to sing solos in the children’s choir, probably because I was one of the few kids who liked being on stage and wasn’t afraid to sing by myself.
After 20 years in church choirs, I’ve realized that my ability is minimal compared to those around me. If I had a modicum of talent, I’d probably be asked to sing a solo or something once in a while. Sometimes it hurts a little that I’m not asked. I want to be special too. As hard as it is to accept, I just don’t have that gift. I know it, but it doesn’t mean I don’t wish for it.
So, even though I only have a nice voice, I still sing. It’s ironic that my high school voice teacher was in attendance at our cantata today. I’m still using my diaphragm and opening my throat and enunciating each consonant, just as I’ve been taught. When I sing, I get all the mechanics down and concentrate on the words and meaning behind the song. When I sing a song in worship, I let the words and music penetrate my heart before they come through my lips.
That’s why I continue to sing… to give my heart a voice.