Several years ago, I joined the Moore County Choral Society. Over 100 voices strong, the Choral Society does a wide range of musical offerings. We just finisehd our Christmas concert, which is always a favorite with the community. It is basically a group made up of seniors, although a few "yutes" have joined in the last two years. A "yute" is anyone at least a decade away from Medicare.
Our Director is a very gifted and talanted teacher in the County school system, Ann Dorsey. She is able to bring out the very best in each of us. Her leadership style combines strenth, testiness and humor in a happy blend. In fact, she could have been my eighth grade teacher, Sr. John. This devoted nun had a mission from God to always bring out the best in her charges, without ever using corporal punishment.
A recent study on aging noted that those who sing have a life expectancy of at least 8 years longer than those who don't. You don't have to sing "well" to get this bonus, it just requires that you "sing." I have found that singers have a more positive outlook on life and that they evidence an inner joy, especially when they are in song. Singing involves the whole person: body, mind and spirit and they are all exercised when you make your own personal "joyful noise."
We close each concert with a wonderful and simple tune called, "May You Always Have a Song." The lyrics are so moving that I am generally in tears when we reach the chorus. And at the end, my lips are moving for the conductor's benefit...but there is absolutely nothing coming out. It's embarassing, actually. Here are some of the lyrics, at least the part where I lose it:
...May music be a part of the joy within your heart,
May you feel it deep within your soul.
May the gentle harmony of a tender melody,
Make your spirit whole.
May your life be filled with song
And may your friends all sing along.
May your heart be true and strong,
May you always have a song....
May your always have a song.
I weep as I write the lyrics. I am truly hopeless.