David Rayl is professor of music, director of choral programs and senior associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Music.
This is a recording of our only choir this semester, University Chorale, which is made up of 15 graduate students from choral conducting and vocal performance. After it was posted on Facebook, I received some very moving emails and texts from colleagues and alumni all over the country, each of them expressing their own very emotional reaction to viewing it.
One friend who is very cynical and never gets emotional, said he wept. Another colleague said they listened to it over and over
— at least 15 times.
There’s no question that the singing is beautiful. This is a truly spectacular group of singers. But there’s more to it than that. I think this intensely emotional reaction also speaks to the power of choral music, to the power of people gathering and making music together.
The fact that we have to sing in a parking ramp, spread eight feet apart, wearing masks and goggles, profoundly demonstrates that human beings can and will overcome all obstacles and challenges in order to sing together.
Watching these students work together over the past weeks has reminded me of why we do what we do. It has restored my faith that we can get through this challenge and emerge TOGETHER on the other end. It’s been wonderful to see a community develop…exactly what’s supposed to happen in choirs.
Even though they can’t hug, and they can’t go out for a cup of coffee after rehearsal and they have to wear annoying PPE, they have all clearly bonded with each other, with a common purpose. Just like human beings are supposed to do. A brilliant and beautiful display of the power of choral music.