Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Notes

In the green room at the National Gallery, photo -- Andrew Jones
In the green room at the National Gallery, photo -- Andrew Jones

By: Rae Payette, the newest Stairwell Caroller


I've begun living Wednesday to Wednesday. That's the night the Stairwell Carollers practice. A church gym, spare metal stacking chairs, 30-odd people, and a tuning fork.


And suddenly, the ceiling is ringing.


It doesn't get any purer than this - voices, only voices, tuning in to the harmonics that we feel resonating on our skin, to create a single, many-throated sound.

Everyone switches seats for another of Petes challenging singing exercises
Everyone switches seats for another of Petes challenging singing exercises

These are my people.


Several (alright, many) years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend Canterbury High School, in the triple-credit vocal program. Along with science, math, history and English classes, I also sang two hours (and often more) each day. Not since then have I felt the passion, the sweat, the purity of concentration that that level of musical commitment demands.


Rae, soprano, stands in the second row third to the right
Rae, soprano, stands in the second row third to the right

And then I joined the Stairwell Carollers.


Three grueling auditions later, (sight-reading in Latin -- on the spot -- along with a rotating series of strangers standing next to me -- listening to my every note -- was a wee bit intimidating,) I was in.
It was worth it.


Rae's first concert with us -- at the National Gallery
Rae's first concert with us -- at the National Gallery

I've had a rough year in my personal life, and being at choir, floating in the exquisite sounds at once within and all around me, has been such a blessing. It is helping me heal, and find my way back to peace.
I feel nothing but gratitude and awe at this music we make together. The Stairwell Carollers have welcomed me, and I am home.


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Thanks for such a lovely "review", Rae.
Sorry about the Latin -- believe me, most of us struggle with the pronunciation too! We all are so glad you found us -- and you are very welcome!

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Holly :)

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