by Kathy Hendricks
Early in the fall two opportunities opened up as my grandchildren returned to school and the days became more fluid. One was joining the League of Women Voters – a way to stay informed and engaged as the midterm elections approached. The other was singing with a local women’s choral group. While I greatly appreciate the work of the LOWV, I opted for being a bystander in the organization. Having spent decades attending multiple meetings, I seized the chance to use my voice in a more lilting way. It proved to be the right choice. Each week we gather in a local church to practice for an upcoming holiday concert. Rather than the standard fare, our selections vary from a haunting ode to the Aurora Borealis, a gospel song about Mary’s motherhood, and a jazzy number accompanied by saxophone, bass, and drums. Our director is a talented and no-nonsense musician who challenges us to stretch our vocal capacity through proper posture and breathing techniques along with some creative warm-up exercises. The results are strikingly beautiful.
For years, I longed for the kind of time and routine that would allow me to rejoin a choir. Raising two children, traveling for work, and meeting writing deadlines put the option on hold for several years. While I could have hewed out the time for something like this while still working full-time, it might not have meant as much as it does now. Participating in this endeavor has rekindled the joy of singing that I first discovered while being part of a children’s choir and, later, as a member of a high school glee club.
I continue to read the information coming from the League of Women Voters and try to remain knowledgeable about national and local issues. I was therefore able to take part in the midterm elections in a well-informed manner. After casting my ballot, I happily returned to my place in the choir, ever grateful for the chance to lift my voice in song and unison with those around me. I can’t think of a better way to engage with my new community.
How about you, dear readers? What “singing with the choir” decision have you or might you make that will rekindle some creative passion in you?
Response by Barbara Anne Radtke
Kathy, last month, someone asked me “What brings you joy?” I discovered it’s a great question when facing a time commitment. May singing with the choir be a great joy for you.
Your post reminds me that decision-making about how we spend our time in retirement is a question we often revisit. More than the proverbial bucket list, some activities we choose and commitments we make create the daily and seasonal rhythm of our lives. May choir practice and concerts be part of a delightful rhythm of each of your new seasons.
The decisions we make have the potential to foster a new sense of belonging or giving back to the community. Thinking back on the lives of my brothers Mike and Bruce, both of whom were musicians, I fondly recall the sense of community they both felt with their fellow band members, music makers, and song writers. May the choir offer you a new dimension of belonging.
Singing in the choir sounds terrific. If your choir records a song or a concert, wouldn’t it be great to post it on Still Blooming? It would be our Pick of the Week, for sure!