Let the record show, the second weekend of February, 2018 was full of snow. It started on Friday and just kept coming until Sunday afternoon. One would full expect this sort of weather to shut everything down and for many it did, but not for we singers. We showed up! Maybe because we were feeling a bit stir crazy, or maybe just because we live in Chicago and that's what we do, but regardless, I felt special gratitude to each who made the trek.
This gathering was all about playing with pattern. I posted on Facebook earlier in the day about how we would gather, not in spite of the snow, but because of the snow. As I thought through this idea of pattern a bit, and the role it would take in our efforts to improvise, it got me thinking about the snow. On a micro level, we can see the incredible and unique patterns of each flake. If we step back to the macro, we can look at the patterns in the way it falls. Don't be deceived, this is not random. There is a beautiful order to that which may seem most chaotic.
So, too was our music making. We worked to create patterns quickly out of what sometimes felt like chaos. What at times seemed like a void, managed to somehow turn into a bloom of sound. Using flashcards, we explored letters from the English alphabet to guide the sounds we would creates. This exercise was an experiment that turned into a whole lot of fun, reminding us that sometimes the most basic of structures can allow us the freedom to really play.
I expressed to the group and will say here also, that as a leader, I sometimes have fear around the simplicity of the work. Will people be entertained? Will this be too small or too boring? Inevitably, my fear dissipates when I hear the richness in that which is most simple. Upon the most basic of patterns, we are able to create beautiful and moving music. Using only a single letter of the alphabet as inspiration, we can create an orchestral moment with our voices.
Looking to and trusting the smallest pattern requires a trust in the true order and goodness of all thing. Or, the true order and goodness of ourselves. To be successful in our singing and improvisation, we must move toward trusting that the even the smallest of snowflakes has beauty and value amidst a seeming storm.