The heavens opened
It is the bleak mid-winter in our physical and social landscapes. The air is chilled with cold fronts, and with incivility in the political sphere and tension in the social milieu.
On Sunday, March 3, my wife and I attended the “First Light II: Songs for the Journey” concert, performed by the Siskiyou Repertory Singers at Southern Oregon University. This second annual celebration of contemporary sacred music was witnessed by a full house of audience members, who were enraptured by the swelling sounds of the vocal and instrumental musicians.
Leaving the concert, I caught the eye of the Repertory Singers artistic director and conductor, Dr. Paul French. I spontaneously said, “It is as though the heavens opened, Paul.”
Paul knew that I meant the power and beauty of the concert he had just conducted.
Later, my wife and I reflected on our experience of the emotional-spiritual inner shift that occurred.
The final song, “I Arise Today,” from the Repertory Singers Composer-in-Residence Jodi French, pulled out the stops of the 60-voice choir and orchestra, creating a visceral sense of hopeful rising — with words taken from the well-known breast plate of St. Patrick. A collective spirit of rising from doldrums, from a pervasive weariness of things-as-they-are filled the music hall.
Paul French hoped that “this music ... will lift and cheer you, haunt your soul, and give you strength for the journey.” The effect, Paul, was even greater than you imagined.