IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE by Jorie Ryan

‘If music be the food of love, play on …’ so Shakespeare began ‘Twelfth Night’ , the sweet sound of singing…

Music has been part of the human journey for as long as we can tell. The oldest known ‘song’ is the Hurrian Hymn No 6 thought to have been composed 1,600 BCE in Syria. We naturally respond to rhythm from the heartbeat in the womb to the sound of waves breaking on a beach or the song a bird singing in the early morning or the humming of a child at play

CUDGEGONG CHOIR director Mary Mitchell

There has been much written about the importance of music to the human spirit. It is a language that reaches deep into you, not needing words or even the shape of story. It expresses that which cannot be expressed.

For me, that has become an ongoing and sweet exploration when I joined a choir in my town in the Central west of NSW. I have always loved singing. I do not sing all that well. If my talent matched my passion I would be a diva!!

The choir is a community choir. Anybody is welcome to join. We rehearse once a week and take part in three concerts a year with some other opportunities to perform as well. The music is an eclectic mix of sacred, folk, classical and popular. We tackle songs in Latin, French, German and Spanish. We struggle with four parts, timing, pronunciation and other musical challenges. We strive to be the best we can be and over time have improved markedly. We laugh a lot. We have a wonderful musical director who thinks we can achieve great heights. We hate letting her down so we try and reach them!

But more than all of this we are a group who fulfils the true meaning of singing together. We connect with each other through the music. We, who come from differing backgrounds, abilities, and experiences, are united through the songs we sing. We know when one of us is struggling with various life issues and we support each other. We are there when one of us has a success. We encourage those of us who take on solos. We have tears when the music reminds us of the pain or distress that one of us has faced.

We celebrate the very wonder of the song. Sometimes there is a soaring wave of sound and then an awe-filled silence when we ask ourselves … did we do that? And the excited chatter of success.

‘if music be the food of love..’ Shakespeare was only partly right. Music is the food of the soul, the food of our very being and when that is shared, as in a choir, it is precious beyond imaging