Walter Bitner

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The End of the Season

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The Nashville Symphony Chorus assembled moments before a performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, Op. 66, May 29, 2015

The Nashville Symphony Chorus assembled moments before a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Op. 66, May 29, 2015

For months the chorus met to learn their parts,
Taking time from family, work, and school;
Bolting a snack on the way to rehearsal
To arrive in their seats in time for the downbeat.
The orchestra’s sound only imagined,
Or for those to whom this weekly work has come
To hold a place of honor in their lives,
A memory of previous performances.

Why they feel drawn to this invisible work
That calls on the body, heart, and mind,
Demands attention to cryptic details,
Robs them of sleep or time with loved ones
And challenges their perceptions of the world
Perhaps few of them can articulate,
Only knowing that without these moments
An emptiness would soon descend upon them.

And now the concerts have finally arrived,
At the end of a long and tiring week,
The time for preparation is over.
The singers take their places on the stage
Intent to realize with precision
What they have worked so hard to achieve together.
Words shape the sounds inferring meaning,
Hearts and voices unite in sonic splendor.

A choir, like any other living thing,
Changes always: shedding cells and adding
New ones to renew its corporate body.
Some will sing tonight for the final time,
The paths of their lives drawing them away
To other choirs or perhaps to silence.
When final bows have been taken by all,
This chorus will gather and sing no more.

When the new season begins in the fall,
Many or most of the members return,
But not all.  Welcomes will be made to those
Who join for the first of many rehearsals
And the chorus will arise anew,
Subtly changed, united by the unexpressed,
Silently acknowledged need for this work:
The insistent heartbeat of any choir.


1 Comment

  1. Deb Greenspan says:

    Your insight and eloquence brings me to tears. Thankyou for your thoughts,your energy,and love of our art.

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