I melted when I saw her line up and the choir began to sing. I was a little surprised that it stirred me so much to see her sing. Our seats were very close to the choir, the second row with only one person in front of us in the first row. For the rest of the concert the feelings remained, even when the other choirs sang. I think part of it was just how important a place singing in choirs has had in my life. It pleases me to the core that she is having a taste of that experience. Part of it is that good music shreds my defenses. The first piece that Chloe’s choir sang was a Kyrie written by Mozart. I thought of Mary Ann, who loved Mozart. Mary Ann would have loved being in that audience with us watching Chloe sing.
I wrote about this choral organization in an earlier post. It is called Allegro. There are five choirs, totaling a just over 200 Youth. Tonight was the first performance of the new all male choir for those young men whose voices have changed. There were four different people directing the choirs. The style of conducting that each of the Conductors used was absolutely clear (lots of very expressive hand movements) drawing the response appropriate to the music the choir was singing. Each group responded exactly as instructed. The voices blended well and every face was expressive of what was being sung. The intonation was outstanding, unusually so. The pieces were varied from Classical music to Spirituals. There were two world premieres of contemporary pieces both great fun to listen to. Instrumentalists accompanying the choirs included a string bass, violin, cello, banjo, ukulele and, of course, the piano. While my reaction is affected by the feelings stirring inside, the quality of the choirs was unmistakable.
Today began with a worship Service filled with strong hymns, many from the 16th Century, sung by the congregation accompanied by brass and organ, sometimes sung in conjunction with the choir. The Sermon wove through one of those magnificent hymns. It was an uplifting morning for me since I am such a fan of the music of that era. The combination of the organ well-played, a very good choir and skilled instrumentalists produced what I am sure was an equally great experience for all in attendance.
By contrast, last night was spent at a barista competition at PT’s (also referred to as The Monkey). This competition called Flatlander’s may become an annual tradition. Those participating included the First and Second Place winners in the 2011 International Barista Competition held in Bogota, Columbia in South America. The café was crammed full of people, Baristas from other parts of the country as well as some Coffee Growers from Central and South America. As I stood in the group and looked around (no small task for someone my height) the variety of people was visually striking. I knew a number of those present, so I felt comfortable. To have an event of this caliber in our moderate-sized Midwestern town was very impressive. The event was actually three days long with presentations and a major competition at the Warehouse. PT’s coffee has come to be one of the most respected in the nation (National Roaster of the Year in 2009). The direct relationship with the growers in Central and South America and Africa has produced a mutual respect.
Chloe’s Dad, my Son Micah, also made me proud this weekend. Yesterday he participated in a 5K obstacle course involving some 2250 people and finished with a time in the top 5%. I will admit I was a little concerned when I saw online just how difficult those obstacles would be, including a number that demanded jumping into water, crawling through mud with barbed wire overhead, sliding at a rapid speed into water, crawling through tunnels, going up and down steep hills, over walls, down and then up through large tubes, and much more on a day in which the temperature at the beginning and the end was 27F. He did it!
It has been a full weekend. I am still feeling the glow from the Chloe’s concert tonight. It has been a good day.