Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Note in Our Honor


I hope you have kept up with "The Continentals" blog about their trip.

If you haven't, take the time to read some of their stories and see some of their pictures. In a very real sense, our trip continued with them. Our experience started with 65 singers in the Spring Concert, then 44 took the music to Ireland, and then this remnant of 14 singers continue to sing our songs and touch others. I'm proud of that . . .

I'm even prouder of what they are learning over there, even if they are some painful truths about humanity. If you have a little time, check out this post. Read about their experience at the Dachau Concentration Camp. I won't quote Ashley's description of what she saw, but I do want to share with you the note she left on our behalf:
We visited a chapel that was erected later to serve as a worship place for visitors. There was a wall of letters written by visitors in all languages as well as a book of prayers and wishes. I got a little teary eyed reading some of the comments people left, and I decided to leave one on behalf of our choir. It went something like this:

May all who enter this hallowed place remember what it stood for; may all who leave take away a message of peace and acceptance for all people. Let us a remember that despite our differences we all share the commonality of what it means to be human.

"All nations shall come and worship before you.
For your mighty and holy acts have been revealed.
Great and marvelous are your deeds
Lord God Almighty."

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Concert Choir
Birmingham, AL USA
Music is a powerful force . . . especially choral music. It puts us in touch with great texts, like this one from the Bible. Putting our words of hope in that sacred place honors us . . . on behalf of the choir, I thank you Ashley.

In the comments section of Ashley's post, she references the work Ross Bernhardt wrote for us: Dresden Meditation. Bernhardt's work sets Norbert Capek's powerful words of hope in the face of overwhelming despair:

In the depths of my soul
There where lies the source of strength,
Where the divine and the human meet,
There, quiet your mind, quiet, quiet.

Outside let lightning reign,
Horrible darkness frighten the world.
But from the depths of your own soul
From that silence will rise again
God's flower.

Return to your self,
Rest in your self,
Live in the depths of your soul
Where the divine and the human meet.
Tune your heart to the eternal
And in the depths of your own soul
Your panting quiets down
Where the divine and the human meet,
There is your refuge.

-- Norbert Capek

I hope I can live in that divine place today . . I hope my mind is occasionally quiet . . . I hope God speaks to me like He did through Ashley and the words of Capek.

I wish the same for you.


Ashley said...

Dr. Copeland, it is an honor that you would pay me such wonderful compliments. It is funny that you say you are touched by my words -- I have been touched so many times by our experiences as a choir and what it means to make music together. Being in a choir is a special thing. It bonds people together in a way that nothing else can. I am so grateful for this choir, the friendships that have come from it and the opportunity to study music with you. You are a truly brilliant professor and musician and I know that I will look back on my time in choir as some of the best experiences of my life. Choir has evolved into more than just a fun thing to do with my friends; its scope reaches into my heart, my mind and my soul. It awakens feelings in me that I cannot experience in any other facet of life. Despite hard rehearsals, busy schedules, and days when I just plain feel like shutting down, all the work and time that goes into our music is worth it everytime we step onstage. I will never forget our time together as a choir. Thank you for being a wonderful mentor.

G said...

Music, but especially singing, is how I experience the love of God...