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The Behrend choir wants you


Christopher Butler, Contributing Writer

It is an abstract concept. A group of strangers assemble into a semi-circle and stare at an individual opposite them. We’ve been conditioned to make no sudden movements in situations of uncertainty, but when those arms begin to, move the group responds. This seemingly awkward situation becomes less abstract as the room actively fills with sound. Strangers become friends, friends become collaborators, and collaborators become musicians.


If you have not figured it out by now, the situation I am describing is the experience of being in a choir. The void of the abstract becomes familiar when it is assigned meaning, and that is what I will do for you. So, why exactly should you join a choir? Well, Shibui comes to mind, but we will come back to that.


The Behrend Choir wants you. I know, this is a bit forward, but it is true. The Behrend Choir wants you, but we need you to want us back. Need those pesky GA elective credits filled? We’ve got you covered. Membership in the choir fulfills these requirements, all without exams and papers. What could be better?


Many students may be new to the area, and there is no better way to get involved in the community than to join the choir. Our choristers participate in a plethora of exciting community events: singing the national anthem for sports events, collaborations with other local ensembles, and presenting not only at high schools in the community but also for our fellow Behrend colleagues. Oh, we also sang backup for Grammy award-winning artist Barry Manilow, no big deal.


This is the chance to spread your musical wings. Yes, we can hear you singing in the residence hall showers, so there really is no excuse for you to be shy now. I have met so many wonderful friends through the choir who I probably would have never met without joining. After many hours of studying, making music is always a healthy stress reliever. There is no better feeling than making music with my peers.


Choir also provides a built-in community for international students, giving them an opportunity to practice spoken and sung language skills and share aspects of their home culture within their new environment. This community enriches members both internationally and domestically with a broader understanding of the world around us.


This world we learn about is fast-paced. This period in our lives is quick and will be gone before we know it. The phrase “seize the day” is common in the music world, but its message holds true across the board. Seize each moment and be present in your life. This brings me back to Shibui.


Shibui is a Japanese concept describing the art of simplicity. It is profound yet unassuming. Its fulfillment is not openly displayed but requires a cognitive exploration after being discovered. It is rich with capability and intrinsically modest. This is inherently abstract, until you give it meaning. For me, choir is Shibui, and I believe with an open heart and mind, it can be for you too.


I hope to see you enrolled in the Concert Choir (Music 103) and/or Chamber Singers (Music 104) in the coming semesters. Be active, be present, and be musical. We need it, and you may not know it, but you need it too.