On the Stage
(Originally entitled “In the Chorale”)
Standing here among these singers,
Friends, neighbors, believers,
I only hear those around me—
Two altos to the right
And on my left, another tenor and a single bass.
We cannot hear the notes and music
From our vantage on the top row
But must trust our eyes more than ears
To follow the director’s quick bird-like motions
Paired with swan smooth gliding of palm and arm,
And we must trust our companion singers
And peerless orchestra
Gathered in from daily life
To create with us from common breath and
Daily living this music, this sound, this
Magic bigger than any or all of us,
Sung for an audience invisible beyond
The bright hot lights.
We would not know they are there
Sitting in inky darkness,
Silent until their own fluttering hands
Give notice of their presence,
And we think,
There are living, breathing people out there
And they care about us,
And they care about the music.
And so, this is our letter,
A love letter really,
To those around us,
To those ranged in rows
Taking in conductor, orchestra,
And the largely anonymous
Faces in the darkened house.
We sing this music and we sing these words
For you and for ourselves
For those present, for those gone on
And for those who are yet to come.
This is our love letter to you and to
The great ephemeral universe:
We love all of you.