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There are several times I’ve referred to my choir either here, or on Facebook.  On Tuesday nights, I go to the local high school and sing for 3 hours with my community choir. Because I choose to go, my day becomes, essentially, a 14 hours out of the house day.  I have about an hour at home between school and choir.   I get absolutely NOTHING done on Tuesday evenings.  I usually miss the #musedchat and #elmusiced twitter chats.  I am usually whipped mid-week because I try to get things done when I come home from choir.  But here’s the big
HOWEVER

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The Livingston County Chorale Family at St. Mary Magdalene, December 2013

This is the highlight of my week.  When the season is done in May, I sit at home on Tuesday nights and wonder what to do with myself.  My choir is the half on the left.  I sing with the mixed ensemble.  We also have a Women’s Chorus and Children’s Choir. The people I meet with are not music teachers, or professional musicians with the exception of the few (retired) music teachers, pianists, the Director, an AMAZING choral director, well respected in the entire state, whom I am so lucky to sing with, and the Assistant Director, a hilarious guy in the beginning of what I’m sure will be a great career, and myself.   The rest are any other profession you can imagine.  People in design, other types of teachers, finance professionals, nurses, retirees who were engineers, worked in chemicals, sales, and everything else in between.  They are there because they love to sing.

My college choir director had always told us one of her favorite things was the Festival Chorus – a large community choir that met in the fall for three hours on Monday night. They, along with my choir, performed one big choral work, or a few mid-sized ones that called for orchestra, sometimes soloists, etc.  Two years into teaching, I was missing making music for me.  I had known about this choir from my college director, and looked them up since they were nearby.  I will NEVER regret the time I spend there, tired or otherwise.

Even when I’m over busy, overworked, or just plain exhausted, this is a place I go every week to remind myself of WHY I began to love music.  Yes, I’m on the Board of Directors, but the work I do there is not concert planning, grade keeping, classroom management thinking, or assessing (not that I mind doing these things the rest of the week!)  I get to sing with 50ish other people that go home, love their music (our term for practicing) and work together to create meaningful, emotive performances.  We have fun.  And pretty much nothing else, except our weekly snack. (Oh my gosh can some of these people COOK!!) I get to be a little silly (easy to do when the we have to “Moo”!)

The point of my long rambling about my choir, is that you need to do something musical for YOU.
Even if you don’t have the time to commit to a weekly rehearsal, there are lots of things you can do that is for your musical mind.  As educators, we worry so much about exposing our kids to musical works, to finding lessons for them, and so on.  This is a lesson for me.

                                                           It keeps music alive. 

It is emotional.  I’ve cried at rehearsal when something has hit me just right.  I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried.  And I’ve formed bonds with people. 

The point of this not only do to something for YOU, but that the people you meet in your community groups are some of your biggest supporters.  Some of them have donated money to my program.  Some have moved ALL of my materials when one of my schools opened a new building this December.  I came in on my scheduled day, and one of the ladies I sing with had moved every single instrument, and piece of music.  And put it back how I had it. Some of them have come to concerts at schools.  They are a backbone for me, a source of support, an oasis of pure love for music.  If you don’t participate in a community group, I urge you to try one out.  It is the best thing I have ever done for me. 

Melissa

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