Monday, November 15, 2010

Know Your Role

Having grown up near the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, Fall has always been the most glorious time of year to me.  The crisp, cool air, the temperate sunlight, and the magnificent colors bursting from the trees radiating over the landscape made me feel uplifted and loved.  When I moved South, Fall didn’t feel quite the same.  Not only is Fall still fairly hot here, it seems that the trees don’t change colors all at once as they do in the North, so there isn’t the absorption of Fall color in one place at one time.  It almost seems that Fall sneaks by me here and I nearly miss seeing any colors at all. 
For the last few years, there has hardly been much of a Fall here in the South due to severe drought conditions.  The trees barely turned, and dropped their leaves almost right away.  Since everything stayed kind of brown all summer anyway, Fall was almost unrecognizable.  However, this year we left drought conditions behind, and had a lovely spring and summer of a good mixture of rain and sun.  The azaleas came on beautifully, lawns greened up, and the trees looked livelier and greener than they had in a long time. 
As I was driving to church on Sunday, I was struck once again by the glorious magnificence of Fall.  The late morning sun was just right, and the trees seemed to be in colorful harmony just for me.  Looking down hill as I came over a knoll, the Fall landscape tapestry laid out in front of me, and I caught my breath at the beauty.  It was spectacular.  I fell in love with Fall all over again.
 Then, as I looked closer, I realized that not all the trees were doing the same thing.  Individually, each one was at a different stage of the throes of the Fall palate.  Some were full-on color; brilliantly flamed in red, orange, maroon, or yellow.  Some were past their brilliance and only the deep browns remained.  Some still retained all of their leaves, fluttering in the easy breeze of the day, while others seemed scrawny, with just a few scraggly leaves clinging to the branches closest to the trunk.  How fascinating that all together they create one of the most treasured sights nature has to offer.
This made me think of choral music and the importance of the rule, ‘Know Your Role’.  Let me explain.  Each singer brings various abilities and talents to the choral table.  Individually, a singer might be the one who solos fabulously, or is that wonderful bass anchor for the gospel quartet, or maybe has the soaring straight tone soprano that floats so simply and so high.  There are so many nuances and tambours and styles and sounds, that, on their own, are part of what makes us unique. Just think of how quickly an infant learns to recognize his own mother's voice.  Most of us find comfort in talking to family and loved ones, finding what we need in the sounds of their voices.  But how does what the individual voice has contribute to the choral sound?  There can be no divas; an individual voice may resonate so pleasingly on it's own, but must find its perfect niche within the choral voice.   It is the contribution to the group that becomes the more important task here.  It is knowing when the contribution of one's specific talents and gifts are the leading role, and when they are the support of the talents and gifts of the surrounding voices. It is the giving and the giving up of ourselves for the good of the chorus that creates yet another gloriously unique voice; the choral one we raise together. 
There is rain in the weather forecast for the next few days.  I suppose after the rain has stopped, most of the trees will have dropped their leaves and the grays and browns of Winter will quietly wander in.  I must remember that Winter brings it's own unique sights to the landscapes and can be quite wonderful in it's own way if I am willing to see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment