Hi! Welcome to another week; I hope Monday didn’t treat you too poorly!
We had another solid rehearsal tonight. I get chills when we nail a passage of “Messiah” — it’s nothing religious, I assure you, just an apparently full-bodied appreciation of brilliant music. Even particularly tight harmonies on the radio can do it. I wish I could show you how music looks in my head too…it’s such an immersive experience!
Anyway…tonight they handed out forms so that those of us interested could go out into the community and ask local businesses if they’d like to advertise in our program book. Ads are the way this community chorus pays for everything — the soloists, the orchestra, everything — so it’s important that we drum up enough support to keep going. Other choirs charge dues, some of which are quite prohibitive and would preclude me from joining if I lived in that area, no matter how much I wanted to sing or how capable I might be.
I signed up to approach a couple of businesses, and will pick up more if I don’t get any bites with the two or three I have in mind. Five years ago there’s no way I would’ve walked into a local business and asked for money, no matter how worthy the cause. But then, in a huge city like that, I don’t think I ever really felt much community connection. I need a smaller place in order to feel that sense of “everyone pitches in and it all gets done.” Here, I know there are only 45ish choir members, and if we don’t all do our part, we won’t reach our goals musically or financially…so we march forth and solicit ads. We put in the time during and outside of rehearsal to make sure it all goes to plan.
It’s like that with everything I do in the community. Each person truly matters; there’s only so much manpower to go around. BUT — small & mighty seems to be a theme. When you know your neighbors and you know the local business owners because they’re also in your civic club or your church or whatever else, you can’t help but feel a sense of shared responsibility for the community’s well-being.
I belong here now, and I can make a difference. I should make a difference. My voice, my time, my hands — they matter here in a way they didn’t before. I’m not bashing big cities; live there if you like, but I felt permanently adrift amidst the throng in that environment, just another face in the crowd.
Living in a smaller town again has also been honing my leadership skills (which were pretty non-existent before). When there are only a few people doing something, I might have to step up and take an officer’s role or whatever else is called for in that moment. The more I do it, the easier it is to do. I never would’ve imagined myself taking on civic leadership roles or leaping at opportunities to do this or that for my town. It’s so rewarding, often in wholly unexpected ways.
Volunteer. Do your bit, whatever “your bit” looks like, wherever you are, whenever you can. Strong communities rest on many shoulders.