This week I thought I would ponder the biggest question of them all – ‘what is the point of life?’ Of course many scientists have written reams on this very subject and the chances are none of the them agree even with themselves. Stephen Hawking probably did answer the question. The trouble is, he was so clever that no one else understood his answer. So, you might ask, what chance does some musician have in answering, or indeed even vaguely attempting to explain the meaning of the universe?
The good news on this front, is that I’m not going to bother. Ultimately the only guarantee in life is death. Therefore it could be argued there is no point. Anything that we do is just temporary and in the grand scheme of things probably doesn’t matter anyway. Of course, now people are throwing things at their computer screen. ‘You idiot’ they are shouting, ‘of course there is a point to life and any decent legacy is not necessarily temporary’.
Where (in the music world at least) would we be without the works of JS Bach? What shape would the world be without the theories of Aristotle? Or indeed, what if Archimedes had decided not to have a bath in 250BC? Of course the story about Archimedes weighing his block of gold is most likely fiction anyway; but you get the point. There are plenty of people who have been on earth for a relatively short period and left a legacy behind which has positively affected future generations one way or another.
Not being a scientist, nor indeed having written any music which anyone would be even vaguely interested in preserving, I do not expect to leave behind any sort of legacy whatsoever. The chances are my epitaph has already been written – ‘Thank God he’s gone’. Is that a bit harsh? Actually no, probably not! Anyway, this is not about me. Instead, my thoughts this week are about how you can inspire your choir.
Last night I had the ecstatic joy of attending a committee meeting with my male voice choir in Cirencester. Ok, so I don’t really ‘do’ meetings and I’m not a fan of choir committees either. But despite this, I actually forced my way onto the committee in Cirencester – mostly just to get things done! Anyway, one of the topics for discussion was the events calendar for 2020 and 2021. Like most choirs, Cirencester MVC often book events a year or more in advance. For me, this is about the most important thing any choir can do.
Choirs like a challenge. After all if you are expecting people to turn up week after week to rehearse, there needs to be a purpose to it. What are you rehearsing for? What will members get in return for learning all the songs (and the words)?
I like to think the point of being in a choir is to sing (well obviously!). When I say sing, I mean perform. A lot of my choirs (like hundreds of others around the UK) put on concerts which raise money for charities. So, not only do choir members get to enjoy singing, they also have the feel good factor of having done something positive to help others. Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether your choir sings in the Uncle Albert Hall or outside your local branch of ‘SainWaiTes’. Having something to aim for gives a purpose to the weekly rehearsals and hopefully inspires you to go out even when ‘the weather outside is frightful’.
So, what is the point of life? I’ve absolutely no idea, but lets hope we all have lots of fun trying to find out! In the words of a song that Cirencester MVC have just started to learn called ‘What would I be without my music’:
The striving is more important than the goal
Amongst other things, Jules Addison is Musical Director for Cirencester Male Voice Choir. This is by far the best Male Voice Choir in Cirencester, but to keep things that way, the choir are always looking for new men to join them. There are no auditions and rehearsals are in the Parish Church in Cirencester on Monday nights at 7.30pm. No auditions or previous experience necessary! *Ends Shameless Plug*