Choir Withdrawals

Since before I can even remember, literally, I was singing in church.  My mom really encouraged me in that area and worked with me, along with playing the piano.  I am reminded occasionally of a time when I was really small singing a solo on a Sunday night at church.  As I was singing away, I was playing with my necklace.  During some part of the song, I pulled it a bit too hard and it snapped with beads flying all over the stage.  I was so young I don't even remember this, but music has always been a part of my life and of who I am.

We were blessed to have Cliff and Sharon Stanley work with the children at church when I was in elementary school.  We did lots of Christmas musicals as well as all other sorts of music.  They really poured a great deal of time and energy teaching through music, and it really influenced me as a child.  I am so thankful for all they did during that time of my life. 

I joined the band in the 6th grade.  I loved music, so I thought I might enjoy being in the band.  Also, it got me out of PE...which I despised!  My mom really wanted me to play the flute, but I couldn't get a sound of it.  So I picked the trumpet because it only had three buttons to learn, unlike the flute.  haha.  I was in the band all the way through high school, and even though it isn't the cool thing to be a part of, I made some friends through that program that I still have today.  I would do the same thing again if I had it to do all over.

While I was in middle school, the high school Advanced Chorus came to perform for us and I was mesmerized.  I couldn't wait until I got to be in high school to be in choir because we didn't have a choir in the middle school.  I was thrilled to make the choir for my sophomore year.  I sang alto and some of my best high school memories are from that class. 

It was an obvious decision for me to major in music after graduating high school because I couldn't really think of anything more that I would want to do with my life.  At first, I thought I wanted to be a flight nurse, but when I passed out getting my Hepatitis shots, I thought that perhaps that wasn't the field for me.  I remember calling my mom and telling her I had decided what I wanted to be...a landscape architect.  She laughed.  You see, I am not an outdoorsy gal, nor do I like to get my hands dirty.  She thought that was the most absurd profession for me to pursue.  She was right!  So, music it was. 

I went to Tennessee Technological University and majored in Music Education.  I had many wonderful teachers who really prepared me as an aspiring music educator.  Many things that we were taught, I didn't understand until actually being in the classroom, but I would love to tell them all a big thank you!  Ms. Ferreria, Dr. Groom, Dr. Smith were some of my faves!  One thing that I disagree on that we were taught was "you can teach anyone to sing".  WRONG!  At least not me:)  I made many attempts, but my lofty ideas were soon squelched when I found this to simply not be the case.  After enduring many auditions, some songs for me are ruined by such horrific attempts.  Poor things.  Some times it was all I could do to not fall in the floor laughing hysterically.  How mean is that??   

Anyway, I graduated TTU and taught one year in Van Buren County K-12 music.  It was a great year and I couldn't have asked for better support from the other teachers and administration.  I also loved the kids, but a position came open in White County the following year for the position that I really wanted.  I was the choral director at WCHS for six years and honestly enjoyed my time there.  I have many wonderful memories with the students and many performances. 

After having children, I had a incredible desire to be a stay at home mom.  I didn't want to look back years down the road and wish I would have just made whatever sacrifices needed to make it happen.  So, three years ago, I resigned to stay at home with my boys.  I do not regret it at all, but I loved the senior class that I felt I abandoned.  It was one of the best classes and I loved them all.  I really had a difficult time leaving because it really felt like I was mourning a death.  In some ways it was for me.  It was a huge part of who I was.  I am fine now, because I know very few students now, so I really have no ties there. 

I started a Children's Chorus and then a few years later an Adult Community Chorus.  I enjoyed both of those as well, but this last fall, I decided not to do them anymore for several reasons.  There are so many things to compete with everyone's time and I simply didn't have the commitments and numbers that I needed to make it work.  I have had SO MUCH less stress not being in charge of a choir this year.  Christmas was strangely calm for me with no musical obligations other than church.  This time in my life with young children I am right where I want to be, but for some reason this last week, I have had some choir withdrawals.  I even started a Pandora station with choral music, which I never listen to.  When I listen to some pieces, it moves me to the core.  I have been in several concerts where I am moved to tears because of the beauty of the voices blended together.  Part of me misses it, and the other part is glad to be exactly where I am.  I don't miss the responsibility, just the people and more than anything...the music.  It would be nice to have a little of both worlds.  Actually, in my perfect world, I would be in a group that has a fabulous, inspiring director where I would get to pick out the music:)

Here is a list of pieces with links that I loved performing or teaching...
Lux Aeterna, I. Introitus, (Morten Lauridsen)
Lux Aeterna - 3. O Nata Lux (Morten Lauridsen)
Lux Aeterna, IV. Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Morten Lauridsen)
O Magnum Mysterium (Morten Lauridsen)
Chichester Psalms Movement I (Bernstein)
Chichester Psalms Movement II (Bernstein)
Chichester Psalms Movement III (Bernstein)
I'm Gonna Sing 'til the Spirit Moves in My Heart (Moses Hogan)
The Battle of Jericho (Moses Hogan)
Come to Me My Love (Norman Della Joio)
All That Hath Life and Breath (Clausen)
Psalm 100 (Clausen)
Ave Maria (Biebl)
J'entend le Moulin
Snow (Elgar)
He Never Failed Me Yet (Robert Ray)
Dirait-on (Morten Lauridsen)
Loch Lomand (arr. Jonathan Quick)
Zigeunerleben (Schumann)
Sicut Cervus (Palestrina)
Daemon Irrepit Callidus
For the Beauty of the Earth (John Rutter)
Erev Shel Shoshanim
Who Can Sail?
Dance on My Heart
Ching-a-Ring Chaw (Copland)
O Sifuni Mungu
Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
Singet Dem Herrn
Crucifixus (Lotti)
In Virtute Tua
Zion's Walls (Copland)
Laetatus Sum (Haydn)
E Nana Kakou
Gesu Bambino (Yon)
You Stole My Love
Evening Prayer (from Hansel and Gretel)
Seasons of Love
Les Miserables Medley
My Fair Lady Medley
Java Jive (this link shows why I hate show choir)
Go Ye Now In Peace (Eilers)
Weep No More (Childs)

Lyrics to one of my favorites from college...If Music Be the Food of Love (Jean Belmont)

If music be the food of love,
sing on, song on, sing on,
sing on till I am filled,
am filled with joy;
then my listening soul you move,
For then my listening soul you move,
To pleasures that can never cloy.
Your eyes, your mien,
your tongue declare,
that you are music every where.
Your eyes, your mien, your tongue,
your tongue declare,
that you are music every where.
Pleasures invade both eye and ear,
So fierce, so fierce, so fierce,
so fierce, the transports are,
they wound, and all my senses feasted are,
and all my sensed feasted are;
Though, yet the treat is only sound,
Sure I must perish,
perish by your charms,
Unless you save me in your arms.
Sure I must perish,
perish by your charms,
Unless you save me in your, in your arms.
"My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary."    Martin Luther


  1. I am a promise, I am a possibility....... first song I remember you singing at church. You were about 5, I guess!

  2. Terri, you are a most inspiring young woman. My favorite memory is when I taught at WCHS and you provided the music for Wayne and Cinderella's wedding.Remember? So much fun. Thank you for all you do.
    L. Palk