My walk to work takes me past a small car panel-beating and re-spraying workshop. I’ve got to know the man who runs it a little bit – I know that he has two kids at one of the local private schools, that his daughter loves to read, and that he had to fire a guy recently for stealing petty cash, and found it the hardest thing he’s had to do at work all year. He knows that I work in mental health, that I love to read as much as his daughter does, and that I enjoy my morning and afternoon walks to and from work. He also now knows that I’m a singer, because when he asked me how I was planning on spending the rest of my weekend, I replied “Just singing tomorrow.” Ha. Just.
Because this is what I’ve realised: that for a lot of people, singing is fascinating. It’s as though it’s some exotic talent, inaccessible to mere mortals, right up there with piloting a fighter plane or performing intricate brain surgery. Whenever I tell someone that I sing with the Cathedral choir, I’m bombarded with questions: is it hard? do you sing complicated music? do you have to do a lot of practise? how long to you rehearse every week? how many songs do you know? I’m always wary of boring people with my fairly nerdy passions, but people seem genuinely interested. Genuinely fascinated. It’s as though music is something that’s made by other people, people far removed from everyday life. People who are worlds away from their own reality, people who are another species entirely.
All of which has made me realise afresh (as though I needed reminding – every weekend I pinch myself to make sure it’s really real) how utterly blessed I am to sing in the choir. Every single week for me includes amazing music – Byrd and Pallestrina and Sumsion and Darke, and Mozart and Sanders and more incredible composers than I could name in a single blog post. Every single week I get to stand with friends who have also become family, and (normally – with a few notable exceptions) make beautiful music. For me it’s not exotic or unusual – it’s a blessedly mundane part of my life.
I do keep pinching myself (metaphorically) to make sure it’s real – but it is real, and tomorrow morning I will leave the house, buy my coffee, and show up at my rehearsal to participate with friends in the creation of beauty. And then next week, and the week after, and every week after that, I’ll get to do it all again. How lucky am I.