The Master Chorale recently completed singing in four concert presentations of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” with the Florida Orchestra, USF Chamber Singers, and the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus. With over 200 singers on the risers, we collaborated with the Florida Orchestra to present one of the most frequently performed choral works in the repertoire. While many of the works we perform are sacred in origin, Carmina Burana most certainly is not. Rather, it celebrates our humanity as we sing about love, desire, eating, drinking, and the arrival of springtime.
The concerts were a huge success and we received standing ovations and multiple curtain calls after each of the four concerts. Many Chorale members recounted their own stories regarding the experience of their friends or family members who attended. I was most interested in those who had never attended a live performance of Carmina Burana. One member of the Chorale encountered a young woman who was moved to tears upon seeing this performed for the first time. I had a friend who sings in my church choir come to the Friday performance who recounted to me that she was blown away by the performance.
In processing the concert experience, many Chorale members shared their impressions on social media. A common thread through the conversation was one of unbridled gratitude, thankful that we were a part of this effort. The realization that we were joining together with others to create art that was much more than the sum of its parts was both exhilarating and humbling at the same time. I heard or read this sentiment over and over again as I connected with my colleagues. This mass of humanity on stage created a truly memorable experience for those who came to see and hear us.
What amazes me is that we are at our best when we are most decidedly human, where we step out of our day to day existence to create something noble and uplifting. Out of that creation we are able to leave an indelible impression on people; one that I hope will encourage them to return to hear us again and bring a friend to share the experience.
That is why we are here. That is why we sing.