Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully With a loud noise.
–Psalms 33, 2-3
A Note from Bill, our music director
While vacationing on Mt. Desert Island this past summer, I had some time to meditate on the important role of music in our lives. Surrounded by the splendor of nature, the beauty of the mountains, lakes, and sea, I was able to hear things that in Boston were quite obliterated by the roar of traffic and din of city life. Suddenly the sound of whispering pines, lapping of waves on the shore, and above all, the many warblings of birds, of which there are many varieties on this island. Their songs reminded me of a wonderful poem by an 11th century monk, translated by W.H. Auden:
How foolish the man who does not raise his voice and praise with joyful words, as he alone can, Heaven’s High King. To whom the light birds with no soul but air, all day, ev’rywhere, Laudation sing.
This text is beautifully set by the American composer Samuel Barber in his song cycle, “Hermit Songs”.
Our souls are also inspired by air, in our inhalation, exhalation, and especially when we bring our voices together in a “joyful noise”, as Isaiah asks of us. The birds of course do not read music (as far as I know), nor do they rehearse, and it seems that they don’t strive for “perfection” as we think of it, and yet their choirs bring joy to our hearts, and make us want to wake up in the morning, maybe a trifle early sometimes! So their lesson to us is this: singing the praises of God and Creation do not require musical training, but rather the desire to evoke sounds from our innermost being, the pure joy of singing.
I want to encourage any of you who feel like they have a song in their souls to sing to join us this year in the Union Church Choir. If you are interested please let me know. All are welcome!
Wishing you all the joy of song,
Bill Merrill, Music Director