Josh Tanguay of Clinical Associates of Hays led a two day team building workshop with the HHS Chamber Singers. Monday, Josh led the 28 students from experiencing frustration as a member of a dysfunctional team to experiencing the essential ingredients in a functional team. The importance of individual leadership, working together, and focusing on a common goal of the entire ensemble were among the many take-a-ways from the activities. Tuesday, Josh led the students in creating a memento together that would reinforce many of the teamwork related themes processed in the two days as well as serve as a visual tool of calm and reflection throughout the school year. Josh had each Chamber Singer come forward and select a color of glitter, open the packet and put it in the container of water. Each color represented each individual and all that they bring to the music making process.
Then, after discussing some the many ways this symbolizes the rehearsal process he passed the container around so that each member could shake and mix up the different colors. The result was a beautiful one color, maroon (go HHS Indians). What a great symbol of team work, the rehearsal process, taking each individual voice and making something beautiful. I noticed at rehearsal today, one of the students came down before rehearsal and gave the container a good shake … then we got to work.
The discussion led to talking about what music means to us and how it impacts our lives. It reminded me of one of our songs that we were going to begin the next day. So I read the text setting up the next days rehearsal. The song was written for the St. Olaf Choir and their director Dr. Anton Armstrong and called Flight Song.
All we are we have found in song:
you have drawn this song from us.
Songs of lives unfolding fly overhead, cry overhead;
longing, rising from the song within.
Moving like the rise and fall of wings,
hands that shape our calling
voice on the edge of answers
you’ve known our cry:
music’s fierce compassion flows from you.
The night is restless with the sounds we hear,
is broken, shaken by the cries of pain:
for this is music’s inner voice,
yes, we hear you, all you who cry aloud,
and we will fly, answering you,
so our lives sing, sing, we will fly
wild in spirit we will like a feather falling,
from the wing fragile as a human voice,
afraid, uncertain, yet our flight begins as song.
Why I love teaching choral music? The music and the rehearsal process forms my life. How a piece of music can penetrate my spirit and impact my life I cannot explain.
John Eliot Gardiner, founder and artistic director of the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloists, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and an expert in early music (and much more) observed in the life and music of J.S. Bach something I think common to all musicians in one way or another.
For Bach is of the very front rank of composers since 1700 whose entire work was geared, one way or another, towards the spiritual and the metaphysical –celebrating life, but also befriending and exorcising death. He saw both the essence and practice of music as religious, and understood that the more perfectly a composition is realized, both conceptually and through performance, the more God is immanent in the music.
from Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Eliot Gardiner
If you are looking for a very interesting, inspirational, historical book about one of the great composers …. this one is a great read.