Last week I took a run down one of my favorite streets in Marietta. It became my favorite when the trails at Kennesaw Mountain closed last Spring. I couldn’t run on my favorite trails anymore, so a great street is the next best thing. I hadn’t been down it since last May when the mountain trails reopened. The start of the Lenten season called me back to that street since that’s when I started running it last year. I wanted to see all of my favorite plants and think about how they are just on the brink of blooming again. They may look dead, but I know that the inner workings of life are already happening to prepare for Spring.
Being in that place again made me think about how hard this has all been, how much this past year has challenged us, and how much suffering our communities have gone through. My favorite author, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in one of his posthumously published essays that “healing cometh only by suffering and patience.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and hoping that through everything, we will experience healing. But the thought comes with a twinge of sadness. In my life healing has largely come through choral singing, and that is still a part of my life that I (and so many others) are sorely missing. I was asked recently if I could recall times where the space between heaven and earth became thin. When I thought about it, almost all the moments that came to mind were experiences in choral singing. It’s this really special picture of how humans were meant to relate and create something greater than ourselves. I also discovered that it wasn’t just me as a choral singer, but my family who was really missing choir as well. At Christmas, Will Todd’s “Call of Wisdom” came on our Christmas playlist, and my sister just teared up and expressed how much she missed being in the concert hall.
So last week at the end of my run, as I often do, I went to the AMC YouTube channel. I turned on Edward Elgar’s “As Torrents in Summer” from our May 2019 concert. Longfellow’s poetry made me smile. Just like the plants getting ready for Spring, sometimes we may not realize when hope and new life is growing inside of us.
So for now I’m thankful for our recordings on AMC’s YouTube channel, but I look forward to when we can sing together again and the healing it will bring to us and our community.
--Perry Houck, Atlanta Master Chorale Soprano
AS TORRENTS IN SUMMER
As torrents in summer, half dried in their channels,
Suddenly rise, though the sky is still cloudless,
For rain has been falling far off at their fountains.
So hearts that are fainting grow full to o’er flowing,
And they that behold it marvel and know not,
That God, at their fountains, far off has been raining!
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)