I was reminded this week about the women’s hockey team who won a national championship match by the largest margin in history. All observers were united in their praise of the team, in particular the star striker who herself contributed 90% of the total goal tally for the match. Cup awarded, adoring fans satisfied the team retired to the dressing room for the traditional post match rituals. At this point it becomes obvious to the coaching staff that ‘star striker’ is in an almost inconsolable state. Tears flowing freely for a good 30 minutes she stressed and agonised over her perceived failures of her performance on the match field. She missed some passes, she was not quick enough to see fellow team members, she missed a goal or two and so on. This was self deprecation at a clinically critical level. The striker forgot she was part of the team, part of the success not less or more important than any other member of the team or squad.
I have choir members who suffer from similar levels of self doubt. At every rehearsal I get choir members asking me why I let them sing in the choir because they simply cannot sing properly (even though, by their own admission, they love it so). My answer is always the same; My choirs are made up of people who want to sing, want to express themselves through the songs we perform. They are part of a team of people who each contribute a unique voice to the choir sound. My choirs sound real, sound happy and always bring joy to those who hear them. No fancy packaging, we sing as ourselves and as a group we are much the better for it.
At the end of each rehearsal, I am lifted by the people who take the time and trouble to attend. I am charged with a desire to do more to make us even better than we are. I don’t ever want anyone to go away dissatisfied, or disconsolate for the choir is richer because of each and every voice within it. I want all choir members present and future to never forget that it’s not how long you can hold a note for, but the joy with which you hold it. Smile and sing and the audience will smile and listen.
Last Saturday the Bramley choir sang at the Jubilee Fete in the village. Whist we were low in numbers those who were there did a fantastic job of battling the sound system, a rogue Master of Ceremonies and a large filed with the audience standing as far back as they could get (strange what people do when presented with so much space to occupy). The comment of the day came from a chap who came up to me afterwards and said how happy the choir were, how happy they sounded and wasn’t it amazing how much better they sounded the closer he got. So not only did the choir perform brilliantly, but they also gained as new fan. Well done to them all.