OK, now I’ve got more fodder for my internal arguments of “Unison” v. “Harmony” and the relative Godliness of each one.
I went to see the MoTab Christmas Concert tonight. Great show, by the way. I saw another aspect of the argument. I saw, throughout the night, and at various times, moments in which the choir and orchestra combined more or less equally to create great art, and other moments where a soloist was clearly the focal point.
One thing I always admired about the choir, on a philosophical level, was that it represented one of the ideals of the organization of the church. And that is that the choir is a body, not a person. It’s a big mass of humans. We speak of “the choir” as if it were a single entity, but there’s not one person that stands out. The sound we hear, the tableau we see are many creating a sound. Each individual voice singing a different part with a different tambre, and nobody’s really the focus.
In fact the choir just recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, and shows no signs of slowing. People come and people go. On the other hand, could you imagine the Rolling Stones without Mick? Ever see one of those classic rock nostalgia tours where there’s only one original member of the band? It’s just not the same, is it?
There’s something cool and resonating for me in that observation. There isn’t a “Star” in the MoTab. The Tab as a whole, is the star.
Then on the other hand, there’s something very exciting about seeing someone shine. Someone stand out and really express. The soloist tonight was very impressive in her vocal technique. Out to be, she’s won, like, four Tony’s… And she got lots of applause. Two standing ovations. Nobody did that for the choir alone…
That tells me there’s also room for the lone performer, sharing their soul with the audience.
So, my conclusion out of all this is that probably in the heavens, there will be choirs and soloists. There will be times when everyone sings the same melody, and times when the harmonies and polyphony will be celestial. A time when all will be united as one voice, and a time when one single voice will unite us all in one great audience.
And I hope to be singing through it all!