Why We Perform: That Special Connection

Dec 5, 2016

I have always loved music.

It’s an amazing tool for so many people. An escape or happy place, it’s an opportunity to reach for the stars and strive for perfection. My personal specialty in music is choral singing, and I have sung in so many groups throughout high school. They have taught me so much of what I know.

In choral singing, your body is the only thing you need to be successful. You do not need a synthetic instrument to make gorgeous music. Instead, you are born with what you need to share that ever so special moment with the audience, that moment where both sides in a concert, the choir and the audience, are proud of the hard work that has been done and can enjoy the incredible work of choral singing.

Joining choir was one of the most influential decisions of my life. I have always believed that things happen for a reason, and it seems like so many of the amazing moments in my life required so many details to come together. Choir teaches a student everything. It’s taught me the values of discipline and perseverance. A choral singer must practice their part, pitch, range, vowel shaping, choral tone, music theory, and then practice, practice, practice even more. If you’re a choral singer, I’m sure that sounds familiar.

In 2016, I was selected to the America Choral Directors Association's South American Repertoire Choir. Before our concert, our director said something really special to the group. He explained the reasoning behind performance. He challenged our minds with the question: Why not just practice and sing for each other? It would still be fun and we would still learn from it. Why perform at all?

I will always remember his answer. He said that live music was all about performance, that unique ability to share a moment with the audience. A moment where everyone in that room marvels at hard work and beauty. A moment to touch an audience member's heart, to stir emotion, to look at life differently, to find faith or even fulfillment. With so many dark and scary things going on in this world, perhaps a choral performance could restore a little bit of hope in humanity. That’s what he asked us to do, to put a little hope in everyone’s heart that night. So that’s why we practice. We practice to make that special moment with the audience a life-changing one.

But not every concert is life changing. A bad performance will teach you another value; it teaches you about failure. In choral singing, everyone has terrible moments. You learn to get back up when you fall, to keep going even when it’s difficult. There has never been a perfect performance in the history of mankind, but the journey for that moment will always be there. On the contrary, an amazing performance teaches you yet another important value. Getting close to perfection leaves you in awe. It teaches you how hard work pays off, and how amazing it is to share it with others.

Choral singing is phenomenal. The unique ability to share music with others in such a way is a great opportunity. The values that choral singing teaches a singer will stay with them for a lifetime, and hopefully they will pass them down to the next generation. If you aren’t in a choir, I encourage you to join one. There are choirs everywhere and they’re always looking for new singers. If you are already in a choir keep it up! You’re making magic in someone's life.

Logan Hallee is a senior at Oxford Hills High School, where among other things, he sings in the chorus.