From The Clergy

This week, the Cathedral Clergy and staff would like to recognize one of our three Cathedral Choir members who will graduate from High School this year. Each of these students has reflected on his or her experience in the Chorister program and Cathedral Choir.

Abby (Abigail) Clarke, Class of 2020

Rafters fill with clouds of incense, colors dance on white washed walls, wind blows through gleaming pipes, candles jump from soul to soul,  waves of music reflect from our mouths, harmonized overtones corkscrew. An atmosphere of awe surrounds us. Music fulfills me. The collaborative consonants mesmerize my ears. Hundreds of hymns and anthems, each singularly special, are engraved deep inside my brain.

Years of late night rehearsals and Sunday services are responsible for my infatuation with choral music. I’ve spent over 1,280 hours, 76,800 minutes, or 4,608,000 seconds creating extraordinary music. I’ve fallen in love with the marvelous sound of the cathedral choir and the dazzling atmosphere it creates. I look forward to each service anticipating the anthems. Each year I wait for Ash Wednesday to arrive, for my favorite anthem (the Allegri Miserere) to be pulled from the choral library. I wait for midnight mass, where each small individual flame combines as a congregation to light the large expanse of the cathedral. I wait for the exciting intensity of recording projects. For the announcements regarding our next tour locations. Each year is filled with a combination of new spectacular experiences and old traditions. Year after year, anthem after anthem my enthusiasm for choir has never faltered.

I remember staring up at stone. Looking at the ribbed ceiling above us. Taking in the smooth carvings on the walls and hard dark material. This small enclosed room inside Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England was magical. The echoes lapped over each other in waves and the sound spiraled upward toward the ceiling. Even the smallest whisper bounced from wall to wall with glee. Each note from our mouths produced pure bell-like tones. The amazing acoustics raised our voices. Our voices became loud and soothing. When the choir sang, an angelic aura of marvel was established. This momentous memory is the most unforgettable experience.

Choir has provided me with a wonderful community. Growing with the support and kindness of those around me has helped build my confidence not only as a singer but as an individual. I’m thankful for the opportunities that the cathedral has provided me. Spiritually, the chorister prayer embodies the morals and messages expressed through our music. “Grant that what we sing with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and what we believe in our hearts we may show forth in our lives.” As a member of the choir I have learned to understand the meaningfulness of the texts that accompany our music. Each carefully placed syllable can be related to some aspect of our lives.

Throughout the time I’ve spent as a member of the cathedral I’ve learned to value outreach and compassion. I’ve made lifelong friends and learned lifelong lessons. I’ve improved as a musician and an individual. The Episcopalian faith as a whole has guided me through adversity. Choir has not only been an immensely positive influence on my life, but (most importantly) has provided me with ten years of joy.