Meeting an Idol

I’m not really a fan, of sports, actors, musicians, or singers.  I appreciate anyone at the top of their game, but I never think I will actually meet and work with them.  Play a pick up basketball game with Michael Jordan?  Be in a production with Johnny Deep ?  Be on stage with Mick Jagger?  Asked to sing back up for Aretha Franklin?  It could never happen.

Except that, once, I shook the hand of a great composer and conductor and took my place in the chorus to perform one of the most beautiful works , sacred music ever created.  Our church in Kent, Ohio, invited John Rutter to conduct our choir.  The choir I was in.  I don’t know any of the details, but  for several weeks we practiced John Rutter’s Requiem.

We thought we were ready.  We sounded good!  But Rutter immediately stopped us, and instructed us on how to breathe.  Starting and stopping again, we worked on phrasing, on timing, on clean cut-offs, on controlling vibrato, on creating a soft yet forceful sound.     After 15 minutes, we were ready, and our sound was transformed.

It was an experience I will never forget.  Enjoy this Christmas music, by John Rutter.


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