A choir is an exemplary experience of exalting life in solidarity. When one listens to choral music there is an instant of elevation coming from the quality of the piece and the prodigy of synchrony. A different admiration is aroused than that caused by the individual act of the singer because the attention rummages (and delights) in that mystery of the concentration of the voices to produce a single and harmonious song.
A few weeks ago I attended a concert by the Chamber Choir Ainur, a marvel of interpretation, a delicacy of voices determined to reveal the supernatural dimension of music. And listening to it, I don’t know if it was the result of rapture or that permanent will to find metaphorical analogies with life, I thought about how much it has in resemblance to the value of collective and diverse effort to achieve a goal that is rooted in the social heart of humanity. Because in the choir there are different voices, different ranges, unique qualities, and they all come together in a miraculous sum for which all contributions are necessary. And whoever listens perceives the individualities without hierarchy, each one in charge of sealing a segment that takes on a musical body. And whoever sings assumes his condition as an essential muscle for the strength of the organism that ends up producing the piece.
In that syntax of the community resides the dazzling and exclusive beauty of choral performances. Like teamwork, like the concurrence of all trades for the social machinery to work, but with the addition that there is a common will, an unavoidable commitment so that the result does not fracture. It happens that the choir requires a grateful discipline that does not annul individuality or dilute it, but consecrates it as a cause of admiration for a public attracted at the same time by the sum and the neatness of the summands.
In the extraordinary book the ingenuity of the birds, Jennifer Ackerman tells us about the experience of the cejones cockroaches, shy little birds that live in the cloudy depths of the Andes and that sing rapidly alternating syllables with such impeccable coordination that they sound as if only a bird were chirping. “Their duets,” says Ackerman, “are a kind of sophisticated aural tango in which they demonstrate an astonishing level of cooperative behavior.” And she adds that the birds of a couple can sing alone but when they do they leave longer gaps between the musical syllables, in which the other member of the couple usually inserts a short note. In other words, there is an interdependence because each bird knows its part of the song and at the same time depends on the sounds that the pair sends it to decide when and how to sing.
When among some birds cooperation is rooted in instinct, among human beings the conviction must be close that this trait belongs to our nature. And the chorus is non-utopian proof of this.