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Music Of The Soul This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The chorus room was a jumble of sound, and the din hurt my ears. People were forming in little groups and trying to talk over each other. My head was spinning from all the racket. It was soon to be our turn to go on-stage, and we were all nervous, but each relieved stress in a different way. I walked over to a friend, a tenor, who was talking with a group. I joined in the conversation, but only half-heartedly, my mind really troubled by the performance ahead.

Suddenly, the chaos of the room lessens, and the chorus director's voice spreads around the room, telling us we are next. Gone is the rapid chatter of voice, the carefree feeling. Now, as we walked to the auditorium in absolute silence, the talkers had no one to talk to. We were all alone with our fears. Would I miss my cue; would I forget the words? Would I be directly responsible for ruining the performance? All were thinking the same thoughts.

Through the walls we could hear the glorious tones of the band's last song. The shrill specks of sound as the flute cut through the band, and the brassy tenor sound of the trumpet, with the tuba and baritone playing the bass line, and the pounding of the kettle drums setting out the distant and complex inner rhythms. They sounded good, really good. The music issuing forth was like an island of comfort in a sea of desolation and fear, but the elation did not last long. It was our turn next.

I wondered why I remained in chorus, knowing the stress of concerts. Others had joined and quit, why hadn't I? My petty pondering was soon cut short. The band was marching past us, their smiles contrasting our nervousness. Entering the auditorium, we were washed with a wave of noise and heat. We took our places on the steps leading to the stage. I stood next to the rest of the basses. The auditorium was packed. We faced a sea of bodies made of people of different shapes and sizes, all melded into a single massive human entity. The heat of so many warm bodies piled next to each other was unbearable. My mouth felt a sticky dryness, my throat was scorched, and I did not know how I could talk much less sing.

The band director took his place, and now the roar of the crowd subsided. The piano's intro cut softly into the silence. My body at once fell into the beat of the song. I could hear my cue coming, but I knew not to concentrate too hard, or my worries would get the best of me. Instead I allowed myself to become one with the music. My voice rose unbidden, fitting into the complex harmonies unraveling before us.

Gone were the worries and stress, the parched throat. We were a part of it all. The piercing voices of the sopranos, reaching out into the stratosphere of sound, the alto's mellow tones riding beneath them, the high voices of the tenors flowing through the melody, and the throaty basses underneath it all. The notes rising in dissonance, then the joyous relief of tension as harmony was restored, the complementing pitches of the different voice groups forming wondrous sounds. The world was ours to command, for while we sang, music was the only world. No sound arose from the audience, they too were filled with the life we were creating. The music touched our souls, and then worked outward, creating peace to all it touched.

And then we stopped. No longer was sound coming from our throats, but the music lived on in a faint echo of our last note, reverberating slowly off the walls, growing dimmer and dimmer, a dying tribute to what we had created. Ours ears struggled to hear the remnants of the sound, and we could not tell when the echo finally stopped, and the sound we were hearing was in truth only the music living on in our minds. The room was dead silent; no one wanting to break the aura.

Then the room was filled with a different sound, that of a violent pounding, but which sounds like music to performers' ears. It was the sound of clapping, of applause. It felt great. As we walked off the stage, I realized why I stayed in chorus, not for the sake of singing itself, but for music, for the joy it brings oneself and others. I looked over to my friend the tenor, his face too was filled with the happiness I felt.

Some have been gifted with creating beautiful pictures, others create objects of wood or clay, but we are different. What we create one cannot hold, or keep, but it is art all the same. It lives on in the minds of the beholders. It brings joy, happiness, or beautiful sadness or tranquillity, and we share in the beauty that we have created for others. It is our right, for we are the makers

of music. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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