Sunday, January 22, 2006


A few years ago, someone created a thread on one of my MT sites about favorite words. Medical transcriptionists in general love words, love spelling them, love pronouncing them and hearing them, love the history of words, and love how the words are placed together to form ideas.

Some words are just beautiful to my ears. Harmony is one of those words. Of course, here in the North they pronounce it "hahmony" which translates to "hominy" which leads to "grits." But, of course, I digress.

I grew up loving music, and being the daughter of a choir director, harmony was in my blood. Singing a solo is very enjoyable, but there is something fulfilling about blending my voice with another voice in a duet, and trios and quartets more so. Then you get to the full choir. If it's one of those days where everyone's voice is in good shape and no one is confused about what their correct notes are, the effect is magical. The sound soars across the sanctuary like a magnificent wave. The choir can feel the energy. The right song with the right harmony can send chills up the spines of the listeners.

It's a sign of getting older: You don't really appreciate the music of the younger generation.
There is some modern music that I like all right, but on the whole, I miss the harmony, the blend. The great hymns of the church provide that harmony "fix" for me.

I like to say sometimes that I have sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It's true - at least it's true when I sing along to their CD, which I can't help but doing. I work on Sundays now, and haven't been to church in ages. I miss singing with a choir. To take various voices of various people of various ages and talent and experience - and to combine them into one harmonious whole - it's a feeling like none other. It's OK to hear a choir, it's OK to hear a CD of a choir - but the real joy is being in a choir (and it helps to have a great director!).

Ed learned in seminary that the more hymns a congregations sings, the better, because it is a proven fact that the singing forces the congregation to breathe together, and those breaths in unison have a way of uniting the group, making them more receptive to the sermon and prayers and everything else that constitutes a church service. Maybe that's another benefit of being in a choir.

Of course, most congregational music is sung "in unison," which means everyone is singing the same melody and there is no harmony. That has its own value, providing a strength and force of every voice pulling together. And there is a place for unison.

But there is also a time for harmony - a time when we are a group not trying to sound as one voice, but as a blend of very different voices, each of us bringing our share.

I wish society as a whole could nurture that feeling of harmony - balance - beauty. When we all work together for a common goal, each lending our little voice (which is always unique, of course) to the other voices, hitting those perfect notes, that perfect blend. When that happens, it's pure heaven.

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