The Trial and Triumph of Song

A Spartan helmet rests on rocks with a blurry background.

My breaths were deep and silent as I went to the front of the stage. It was our last chance to produce something incredible, and we all knew it. So, we all slid into our positions and looked to each other for support. The first note was soft and firm, uniting us in the prayer we were to offer to our guests. And so, we sang. We swelled as one to waves of music and down to the tiniest ripples of sound. Our notes aligned like the stars in fairy tales, allowing something unbelievable to occur. Our sound bloomed like a rose we had cultivated for so long, finally bearing the fruits of beauty. And we concluded with a note that faded into blissful oblivion.

Now, what I describe is the prayer of the Madrigal Feast that some of you may have attended. But, as you can see, it was slightly more than a piece to all of us. It was a frustration to say the least. It was beautiful, but it was a cruel piece. We all knew just how beautiful it could sound and each time, it fell lamentably short. It was precise; we could never find its possible perfection, and with one foul pitch, the harmonies dissipated like a fine mist interrupting a rainbow.

But this performance was a new experience. Together, we locked in and found the sound we were searching for. In that moment, the prayer was what it was meant to be. Pure, beautiful, and shared with everyone in the hall. It was a highlight of the performances.

This year of Madrigal practices was filled with uncertainty, bitterness, and likely even a bit of anger. However, surmounting this prayer was an accomplishment that represented each obstacle the choir had conquered to get to our final performances. This year was full of challenges and we were all forced to rise to them. Yet, we transcended each trial placed before us, and we did so together. Something new rose from the ashes, and it was truly beautiful.

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