Missing the Music: A Semester Away From Choir

It’s an odd feeling seeing the clock pass 4:30 and not having to rush over to Hogan 5 to find a bunch of college kids breathing through straws.

As amazing as the opportunity to study in Washington, D.C. has been, there is one thing that it is sorely lacking: music. Sure, I can attend Chainsmokers concerts and put on Crosby, Stills, & Nash as I make dinner (most likely pasta with slightly undercooked sausage), but my experience down here has been pretty comprehensive with the exception of choir. There is something incredibly unique about the choral experience: it is rigorous as it is relaxing, academic as it is musical, and strangely relaxing as stressful as it may become.

It’s almost paradoxical in its existence: all the parts that one puts into choir (the rehearsals, the sectionals, the breathing exercises) can be stressful, daunting, and tiring. But come concert-time, the product seems almost effortless – the concordance of voices harmonized together to create a sound only a choir can make.

As someone who is now intimately familiar with the professional world, choir has played a large part in my professional life. Among other things, it has taught me to be independent within a larger collective. Instead of viewing yourself as singularly independent or only as part of a larger group, choir has shown that one has to be independent (aware, conscious, and deliberate in actions) but also very aware of the implications of your actions as an individual have on the greater collective you belong to. Choir has demonstrated that sometimes, your own voice may be too overpowering to create the best sound, and to achieve that, you must take a step back and listen to others’ voices. The list goes on and on, but the short of it is that choir has certainly impacted me for the better.

It’s certainly been both interesting and difficult to shift into a role from being a full-time student to a part-time student, but it’s achievable. And as to choir, well, that’s only made that transition easier.

-Max Lies ’17

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