Thursday, September 9, 2021

Why I Love My Work - Cummins Diversity Choir

I haven't written much about my work, for a variety of reasons.  But similar to how I have had a Why I Love My Church series, I wanted to write about why I love my work.  Reminders of the positive, the blessings we have in life, the things to be truly grateful for.  And there are many, many reasons why I love what I do right now and the company that I work for.  Here I'd like to focus on one benefit of working for such a large company.

Live music has been one of the hardest hit areas in this pandemic.  The rules on social distancing shut down many venues for a long time, choral singing proved to be one of the easiest ways to spread the disease, and opportunities to sing in public became fewer and far between.  Especially as part of any ensemble.

Late last year, I discovered that Cummins has a choir based in Columbus, Indiana.  The choir was pulled together as part of Cummins emphasis on diversity.  It was a way for people from diverse backgrounds to share in a common language and experience - music.  The choir had been performing right up to February 2020, but had stopped rehearsals and performances because of the pandemic.  

I was able to "join" the choir virtually and participate in a handful of Zoom sessions to get to know the choir members over the final months of last year.  Video conferencing is great for face to face communication, but terrible for music as there is not an easy way to counter the overlapping audio feeds.  So, while I was able to join, I was not yet able to sing with them.

Thankfully, with the improvements that were made in June and July, we were able to gather together to rehearse once again. We even were able to plan for a performance.  On August 28, the choir was able to perform at the Chinese Cultural Expo in Columbus.  It felt like everything was really getting back on track.

I can't tell you how good it was to be able to sing chorally again.  My most recent opportunities have been as part of smaller ensembles, like praise teams, or solo.  I love and appreciate these as well, and will be writing about getting to be a part of the praise team at our current church.  

Choral singing uses different muscles, though.  It's listening more closely to the intonation and pitch of those singing the same part as you.  It's balancing your voice with the others in your part.  Listening for the balance of the other vocal parts to make sure the blend of the whole ensemble comes through.  Keeping a close eye out for the conductor to ensure you are in time and don't miss an entrance or hold out a fermata too long.

Coming out of every rehearsal it made me dive into all my Broadway and classical music.  To want to just belt and sing for the rafters.

I forgot how much I missed it.

We are shut down once again, as the Covid cases increase around us and as Cummins' restrictions on indoor activity have once again been implemented.  But I am hopeful that this will be a shorter hiatus.  

I'm hopeful we are turning the corner with this virus.  That those stragglers and most ardent anti-vaxxers are coming around and will receive the vaccine (or will be forced to get the vaccine).  That maybe we can stop politicizing masks and do what we can to care for our neighbors around us.

I'm hopeful.  Maybe naively, but hopeful.

And I'm looking forward to singing again.


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