“Celebrate differences” is something we hear a lot in our current culture. Yet, we often find ourselves asking, “How do I do that?” and “What does that actually mean?” In our time of rapid news feeds and constant swiping, it is easy to live by 140-character statuses and catch phrases. It is easy to say a thing, but much harder to actually do it.

Enter Choir.

It might seem strange, but choir–especially community choir–has provided the structure by which I can begin answering that question: “How do I DO that?” Each week during our concert season, 54 people from all over the city of Atlanta come together to rehearse and attempt to figure out how we can best “celebrate our differences” so that the result will be something beautiful. Our group varies in so many ways: age, backgrounds, neighborhoods, styles of singing–you name it! On a deeper level, we come from different seasons of life–some of celebration, some of deep sadness. But we still come together, and we enter into a process. We enter into a weekly routine that causes gaps between us to bump up against one another until we figure out how they fit. A typical Atlanta Master Chorale rehearsal is a testing ground for the question: “Can we actually make our differences work together?”

Well, the answer is a resounding “YES, we can! And it is wonderful when we do!” But it’s not easy, and it’s not quick. We may sing, tweak and rework a passage over and over in one rehearsal, or even over the course of weeks before we start to get the sound the music and the composer demand. This is because we are integrating so much–the notes and […]