Sunday, December 29, 2013


It is my enormous good fortune to have alighted at a church (St. Ignatius of Antioch), whose superb young organist, James Kennerley, is also a superb tenor, who has the good sense to encourage fine singing on the part of volunteers as well as professional choir.

Singing is the root of everything in my musical life; it is where I experience complete integration.  The sound of an in-tune group is irresistible; words take on a dimension they cannot otherwise have.  Being part of that sound is one of the best experiences I can imagine.

For many years I led an a cappella sight-singing group.  What started out to be a six-week experiment lasted for over 25 years.  I miss it enormously.  Amateurs, non-singers, actually.  We learned to sight-sing by tuning the staff.  We were always in tune.  (Colleagues tell me that's impossible, but it's true!) It was always music. 

Why don't more people gravitate to that basic pleasure?  I often wonder.  Maybe it's because it is a real single-tasking enterprise, requiring devotion and concentration.  Or maybe it's another manifestation of the over-simplification of listening that has resulted from over-consumption of canned goods.