-posted by Patrick Alan Coleman
A group of individuals join voices in harmony and there is magic. This is ubiquitous in the spiritual world; most churches begin service with song or prayer as song. Voices unite to plead down heaven, grace, love… Soon, it arrives.
The secular world has abandoned the choir for the singular voice. Secular choral music is kept alive on the respirator of scholastic choirs and local ensembles, gay men or otherwise. But yesterday, the downtown afternoon gave up a small hollow of silence to the chirping, twittering, and harmony of Rinde Eckert’s volunteer chorus.
The performance in Pioneer Square was as much visual as aural. The sight of a chorus becoming a flock of songbirds, trumped my urge to close my eyes and simply listen.
Eckert provided a wonderful balance between intriguing conceits (the leaves of books as flapping wings, hands raised to create the long necks of waterfowl) and lyricism in the score. I honestly did not expect such beautiful melodies. As the lilting sound of excellent birds rolled across the chorus, my inner choir-geek, who I ‘d beaten into submission through steady, late-teen doses of Nirvana and Soundgarden, rose up and threw his fist in the air.
I only wish some of the more subtle moments had not been swallowed (no pun intended) by the open space.
We’ve started this annual ceremony of art and performance with song. We’ve called down a flock of excellent birds and they have arrived- Halting their migration for a moment to regale us with their fine colors, sequins, movements, and voices.