Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Healing Power of Harmony and Vibrations While Singing.

I love singing in a choir. We were rehearsing for Easter morning service. We are a small band of mighty warriors, our little choir. And Mark Janas, our conductor has us doing the Randall Thompson "Alleluia." Which is pretty much THE "Alleluia."

There's really nothing like filling your lungs and exhaling great choral music. It just sits there in your chest and vibrates.

And there are more than a few people in this choir whose voices blend with mine so exquisitely, we become a single voice and it actually resonates, physically, in our bodies, and the other singers can feel it and hook in -- or maybe we were hooking into what they had already found.  It's as if you're inhabiting some parallel dimension of sound.

The audience will feel it and hear it, too, by the way, especially when they get caught up in the gorgeous stone arches of Christ Church Bay Ridge sanctuary. It starts sounding like bells. It's magic. It's transcendence.

And why not? Why wouldn't celestial corridors open up with those vibrations? Even if you eschew metaphysical symbolism, it works just as well, in theory as a science. Something goes on there. Between singer and singer. Between singer and audience.

We also rehearsed a special choral version of "My Rising Up," which Mark and I arranged together back when he first became my musical mentor. Putting me at the piano, I started off pounding away, as usual, my foot stomping. After a few stops and starts, he informed me I was really pushing the beat; to get the beat out of my foot and into my head.

What? There's other people in the room?? I'm partying up there! Dancing! And that's good. I can do that. But when it loses its musicality because it's going too fast, then that's not good, either. It loses something.

After that, I went over to the Players Club because Jim was performing in a staged reading of Ibsen's "Ghosts." He was very proud of himself. There was an British actress in the cast who asked if he was from England. Oh, those Brooklyn boys. They'll fool you every time.

I also met a cellist named Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, who more or less improvised music before the show and leading into each act. (She may have done more, but I was at rehearsal). She has a group of classical musicians and actors who will perform a salon in your living room, much like it was done back before electronics became our primary source of home entertainment.

When I told her how much I love the cello, she held it like a sweet friend and said, "When I was young, I just thought of it as a person. It has a neck, a body and it has the same range as the human voice. It's a person singing." When she began classical training, later in life, she said to herself, "Well, I've been doing this all along."

I love the simplicity in that.

The point of all of this is that each of us has the capacity to create that kind of harmony, and when we do, it creates all kinds of healing within the body. It's measurably therapeutic, whether it's the voice or the cello or whatever thing you love to hit, thump or play.

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