It’s Thursday afternoon, and I’ve had yet another busy week of work, socialising, life admin: the works. I’ve burned the candle at both ends, but somehow, I’ve still got to find more energy. I have several deadlines looming on Friday; it’s like it never stops.
Catching a glance at the tiny clock in my screen corner, I curse and hurriedly shut down, shoving my laptop into my rucksack before I rush out of the office and into the London evening. Grabbing food on my way to the train, I’ve almost perfected the art of eating a burrito on public transport (I only spilled five grains of rice this week – not bad at all, even if I do say so myself).
My mind whirring, my body moving on autopilot, I arrive at Temple. I rush up the hill from the station and into St Clement Danes, the gleaming, historic Anglican church – though I can hardly appreciate it fully when I’m trying to slow my breathing, calm my heart rate, somehow recover from the burst of exercise I’ve just imposed on myself.
I hear voices in harmony. The warm-up is already underway, so I try not to clatter too loudly as I shuffle my way onto the front row to join my fellow altos. With my head still on my to-do list and replaying the concerns of the day, I join in with the warm-up as though I’ve been there since the start. After all, I was only 30 seconds late…
Tonight, I can’t help but wonder: am I really in the headspace for singing? With everything I’ve got going on, rushing here and there, late for every appointment and my brain flitting between work, home, family, friends – do I really need this commitment on my hectic schedule?
Then we sing through our first piece. And the tension in my shoulders starts to lower; my mind focuses as my worries begin to fade to the background.
I feel myself relaxing into the music. Within half an hour, which flies by, I feel like my weekend has already started. The stresses and strains of the week subside in the pleasure of collective singing. With every juicy harmony, with every lyrical phrase, every tangential anecdote between pieces, I feel better and better. By the end of rehearsal, I’ve become a better version of myself.
For me, Vivamus is a meeting of friends and colleagues who enjoy making music together under Rufus’ gentle direction. Even on occasions when the pieces aren’t particularly to my taste, I still love being part of a community where we support and challenge each other to perform to the best of our ability. It brings a tonic to the soul, amidst the madness of the rest of life, and it means that the end of my week, the end of my stresses and strains, is in sight.
But then again, a week doesn’t look so bad when it’s got choir on the horizon.