Academic journal article The Hymn

From the Center Director

Academic journal article The Hymn

From the Center Director

Article excerpt

Over the last few years I have watched some of my closest friends go through some of the toughest times in their lives: divorce, deaths of loved ones, addiction relapse. I have watched some of my most beloved choir members slowly lose their memories until their bodies finally give way. I have watched acts of violence and hate hold our country's attention after an unprecedented number of mass shootings. Over the last few weeks and days, I have watched some of my closest friends fear what the future holds for them, and I have watched as acts of hatred, racism, and xenophobia take the national spotlight once again. And I have found myself wondering what to do. What can I do in the face of so much pain, anger, and hatred? Where can I find hope, and how can I share hope with those who likely need it more than me?

It is at times such as this when what we do becomes so important. This is when what we do becomes powerful. When we don't know what else to do and the way forward is not clear, we must sing. We must sing when there is death, to remind ourselves that there is life. We must sing when there is hatred, to remind ourselves that there is love. We must sing when there is division, to remind ourselves that there is friendship. We must sing, and as any good Hymn Society member knows, we do sing.

I remember talking to Kirk Hartung over a cup of tea one evening after a long day of Executive Committee meetings. As the primary organist at his parish in Boston, he told me that he had played literally hundreds of funerals over the last few years at his parish, so many that he had lost count. …

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