Last Thursday, I enjoyed my first rehearsal of the season with the Very Special Arts Choir! My friend, Malcolm, is the founding conductor of the group and has led them energetically for the past 13 years. This year, he's taking a much-earned sabbatical from things (currently climbing mountains in Peru), and asked me to help out. I happily obliged!
The church I grew up in had a large population of individuals with disabilities. Lowell Bartels brought the group from all over Helena in on a big yellow school bus, and in vans, every Sunday for service. I learned that there was so much joy and promise in this population of unique people, especially when paired with music. I was lucky enough to play for their church services when they needed a fill-in pianist, enjoying exuberant hugs and shouts and songs.
On Thursday, there was so much laughter and love in the room, I didn't stop smiling for the entire two hours. Standing in front of the group, I felt inspired to do and say things differently- with more zest. After an hour of singing Halloween and Christmas songs, Alayne passed out ice cream treats for everyone. Kathy and Jackie Sue gave me big hugs, and many welcoming handshakes were given. I am really looking forward to getting to know these individuals and finding ways to inspire them.
I need this. A new perspective, a new venue to explore singing and love for music. Time to laugh and sing and get a little less...jaded? Not that a fourth-year music teacher could be such a thing.
Well, laughter and song never hurt anyway.
Looking forward to Thursday nights this year!
(photo from VSA's Cabaret performance "I Feel Good" last Spring)