One of the biggest side perks that we would have enjoyed had JJ taken the call to Wisconsin was the chance to sing with the Lutheran Chorale of Milwaukee again. JJ and I met in that group; he was a bass, and I was a soprano. Sopranos sat in front of the basses, and we flirted shamelessly with each other during rehearsals (I’m sure many other people in the group rolled their eyes at our antics!) But, all flirting aside, we both really enjoyed being a part of that group and singing good choral music. The inability to be part of singing in a good choir on a regular basis is something both JJ and I miss.
JJ has told me for years that when I go back to school (in his mind, it’s not if, it’s when), I should consider an advanced degree in either choral conducting or choral composition. While I haven’t written anything for a long time, I used to really enjoy writing music. I wrote much of the music for JJ’s and my wedding, but to my husband’s dismay, the copies of those compositions still languish in manilla folders amongst my piles of stuff.
I know that I have a good ear for choral music. I grew up from little on listening to my mother play and sing along to recordings of the Lutheran Chorale around the house. (Yup. That’s the same Lutheran Chorale that JJ and I met in. I was the first second-generation Chorale member to find her Mr. Right in Chorale!) That choral sound was imbedding in my brain as a toddler. Thanks to being ingrained in that way, I can tell when the harmony is not quite right in a choral or hymn arrangement even though I don’t always have the techinal terms to explain why. For all that I love the new Christian Worship Supplement and the hymn sampler CD that goes with it, there are some songs where the melodies and/or harmonies are … not quite right, and every time I hear them, it annoys me. Some of the new Psalm settings also have … weird things about them. I don’t know exactly what harmony rules are being broken, but something is definitely amiss in a number of those songs.
Tonight, as I sit at the computer working first on a music lesson and now on a blog post, I’m listening to a recording of the National Lutheran Choir called “Jesu, Come.” It’s an old recording: I think I bought it in college. I know pretty much every song on it by heart. And despite all these years, it is still one of my top 3 favorite choir albums. It’s just so beautiful. Tonight – I’m really missing singing in a choir.
Sometimes I wonder (and I know JJ leans this way) if, rather than pursuing a doula career, I should pursue an advanced degree in choral music of some kind. Maybe someday. Not right now. I’m still hoping (hoping!) to have more babies, and they need my attention as a mother. For me right now, being a Music Together teacher and a doula fit better into my life. Those sorts of things make up my world right now.
But, someday. Someday, perhaps when we’re back in the Midwest and near colleges that have strong choral traditions. Perhaps then I can go back to college and make Dr. Braun – and my husband – proud. Dr. Braun, my music professor in college, always told me that I should get a Ph.D. someday. I don’t know if I’d want to go that far (that’s a lot of work!), but a lesser advanced degree might be just my cup of tea. Someday. I would like that.
Tonight I miss being a part of good choral singing. I guess there’s something to miss wherever you are.