Here is something about me that I bet you didn’t know: I love choral music. LOVE it.
Did you know about Kathaumixw? Kathaumixw is an International Choral Festival in Powell River, British Columbia.
Choirs come from all over the world to participate!
And here is something wonderful: every second year, the First United Church in Salmon Arm brings one of the visiting choirs here to perform for us.
This year the Academic Students’ Choir of the Ural Federal University in Russia traveled up to perform for us. These young people are Engineering students at the Ural Federal University. They are not music students (thought maybe they should be).
The choir opened with O Canada and I immediately burst into tears. Not because I am patriotic (I am), but because these young people had taken the trouble to learn it. And oh, I have never heard O Canada sung like that. The harmonies! You would have cried, too.
Honestly, I cried throughout the entire first set. At the end of it, my face was crusty with the salt tracks of my tears.
If I had been alone, I would have sobbed out loud when, at one point, the choir moved out of their formation and encircled the audience, singing a South African hymn with hands raised. We were surrounded by music, gathered in, lifted up. It was, quite literally, awesome.
Awesome: inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence or admiration; causing or inducing awe.
(…and by the way, what word do we have to replace Awesome with now that it has been devalued into a trite slang term? What do we say when something moves us emotionally? How do we label an experience that so much bigger/greater/stupendous than ourselves?)
Anyway, for the record, I want to say that listening to the choral performance and watching the conductor, Svetlana Dolnikovskaya, moved me to tears and filled me with a sense of joy and awe.
Here is one of their European performances that I found on YouTube to share with you. Close your eyes and relax. Listen and enjoy!
I wish you had been there. You would have been moved to tears, too.