Monday, May 21, 2012

The things we do for love...

I figured the title of this post would apply to me, the come-with husband who tromped off with his wife Saturday night to see one of her former students perform with the Matthews United Methodist Church Youth Choir.

I'd sit smilingly through an hour of Broadway numbers, possibly after stuffing myself with ice cream left over from the annual church picnic. I'd shake a few hands, compliment people politely (I've known choir director Craig Estep for years) and go home, duty fulfilled.

But midway through the opening "Phantom of the Opera" medley, something happened. First, some of the singers were better than I'd expected. More importantly, the earnestness and energy -- yes, and love -- radiating from the performers swept me up.

Not all of these soloists are headed for Broadway careers, though tenor Michael Juilliard should certainly consider the school that shares his name. Nor did all of them fully understand the heartbreak and political upheaval about which they sang; they hadn't yet experienced all the passions that drive adult Broadway characters.

But every single one of them, down to the back-row choristers who never soloed, had experienced the transformative power of music. All of them knew the happiness of using a talent -- a God-given talent, I expect they'd say -- that helped them add a little joy to the world.

We often forget that the word "amateur" comes from the Latin "amator," or "lover." Like all the things we do for love, this kind of singing had a special beauty all its own.