It was cold and rainy but the church was almost filled. I found the altos, sitting on the left in the back, and struck up a conversation with Annette. "We're doing Beethoven's 9th in the spring," she said. "You should audition."
It was a warm and welcoming thing to say — especially since I'd yet to sing a note — and it made me feel instantly at home. And "at home" is the way I continued to feel as we made our way through the familiar choruses: "Glory to God," "His Yoke is Easy," "For Unto Us a Child is Born" and, finally, "Hallelujah."
It wasn't just the words and melodies, so ancient and true, it was being an alto, part of a group and a section. It was fudging the runs of "And he will purify" with 20 other voices to fudge along with me. It was belting out "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" with the fervor of a community chorus, knowing that this scene was being enacted in church basements and concert halls around the country.
It was singing "And he shall reign forever and ever" — and wanting more than anything for the music to go on that long, too.