It was only about two weeks ago that I sat in choir feeling worried and frustrated. Having been abroad during the entire fall semester, I had missed out on learning at least of the 12 pieces they had been working on before I’d arrived. I would never have time to catch up and teach myself that much music, I thought. Not only did I feel personally inadequate, but I had this nervous feeling in my stomach that we wouldn’t be prepared for our upcoming concerts as an ensemble either, as many of us didn’t know words to certain pieces, we weren’t being as musical as we could have been, and some of the most crucial chords were not coming into focus.
The bags under poor Dr. Last’s eyes continued to darken as the pre-tour stress set in. “I know you can be better,” he said. “I feel like I am dragging you along. There’s only so much I can do on my end. It was time for each and every one of us to get in a practice room and learn our part. In a choir of 102, it’s so easy to get lazy and assume the others will learn their part so that you can hide out and glide by without putting in any work.
But think about the caliber of singing that takes place at Luther and how proud we all are of that, and you can’t help but want to be better, especially for a director as inspiring as Dr. Last.
Clearly, we all realized that each and every one of us putting in the extra effort was worth it. Because the week of tour, Dr. Last was faced with a completely different choir. Not only were notes and words learned, but we were determined to sing musically, and we were ready to do everything it took to sound as good as we could.
Throughout tour, entrances continued to get cleaner, stylistic details were polished, phrases were sung even more beautifully. We started to get away from our music and have fun. Dr. Last showered us with valuable compliments that will stay cemented in my mind forever. He thought back to two weeks ago when we had been struggling, and compared it to how far we had come: “I have found out that this is a choir that is always looking to set the bar higher. You guys are not afraid of work…You have fed me.” For me, nothing is more rewarding than 102 students, with different interests, different tone colors, from different upbringings and experiences, coming together to commit to one unified sound. When you think about how difficult this is to achieve, it almost makes you think that if everyone could just hold hands and sing together, there could be peace on earth. Here at Luther, we make this miracle look effortless.