A week ago, Sally and I went up to Cleveland, to the "Messiah Sing" at Trinity Cathedral, the place where the Boar's Head pageant takes place after Christmas. I went to listen, Sally went to sing. I've written about this magnificent cathedral in the past, a place over 100 years old, built when Cleveland's Euclid Avenue was part of Millionaire's Row, lined with elegant mansions. A few of these mansions are still around, some of them part of University Circle, parts of museums, or buildings used by Case-Western University. There are probably ghosts of these people regularly attending Trinity Cathedral
The place was packed for the "Sing," with each section designated for the voices in Handel's timeless work. By far the largest section was the altos, who filled almost half of the main nave. I have only participated in one of these things once, many years ago, when I spent a year in the Bach Chorus at Baldwin-Wallace. I still have my score, but there's no way I can navigate the range or the tricky bits. I hummed along with the parts I remembered, as did a number of us in the "listening" section.
There was a small, beautifully precise orchestra, and four young soloists. With the first words of the first chorus, "Glory to God," there was such a thrill, hearing that great space filled with hundreds of voices, I swear I levitated. It went on like that for the next hour. The soloists, unmiked, projected their gorgeous voices throughout the vaulted nave. Maybe you had to be there, but it was stunning.
At the end everyone was beaming.
Sally was ecstatic.
It was glorious.
It is s a wonderful way to tell that story.
I think the listening to the beautiful music of the human voice is as close as one can get to grace.