Some years ago there was singing in the choir of an East London church a woman with a rich and lovely voice. Her fame spread until one Christian festival she was invited to sing as one of the principals in ‘The Messiah’ at the Queen’s Hall.
One of her closest friends was talking with her teacher and asked him whether he thought she was equal to the task. The teacher said: “If she tries to remember what I have tried to teach her and merely consciously follow the rules of correct breathing and voice production, she will break down. But if she can forget everything and think only of the wonder of the message she is singing, she will be right.”
The night of ‘The Messiah’ came. At last it was her time to step forward to sing, “I know that my Redeemer liveth”. For a moment she faltered and then the wonder of the message gripped and the music began to follow from her lips with great beauty and control. She forgot the audience and the occasion and sang as one who knew the inner meaning of it all.
The audience was deeply moved. It was a night to remember because she was not trying to follow a set of rules. The soloist was gripped by the meaning of the song and she had found the spirit of power within.
Source: Alan Walker, ‘God is where you are’, p27.
Image: Cover for presentation of 'The Messiah'.