Have you ever experienced a silence better than applause? I have. I did today. Beve and I drove down to Seattle today to attend Seattle Children's Chorus 20th anniversary gala concert. My closest friend is the founder and artistic director of SCC, and we've been privileged to hear many of their concerts over the years. But today we sat in the spectacular venue of Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, where there's not a bad seat in the place, and we listened to the over 200 voices of these children, their eyes all focused on my friend--my very gifted, very awe-inspiring friend-- and her assistant directors, sing an array of music, including many new arrangements by composers both local (even K's talented eldest daughter) and from across the country. The final piece was a brand new piece SCC commissioned to commemorate this anniversary by well-known American composer, Steven Paulus. As the four combined choirs stood together in their black and white concert attire on that beautiful hardwood stage holding the last note of that brand new piece, a song, a hope, a prayer to carry us through each day (as K said) there was a collective intake of breath in the concert hall as K lowered her arms. A gasp of silence that made the tears that had gathered at the corners of my eyes drop onto my face. This is it, I thought in a flash. This silence is better than a standing ovation. That held breath a holy moment that makes us know we're in the presence of something so much greater than the sound, so much greater than the performance. It's Incarnation. He is there and He is also holding His breath in awe.
Then came thunderous applause, hands clapped so hard that palms tingle and still we clap. It's the gesture we have to say we are honored to be part of this company, that all the sweat, the worry, the discipline, the attention to detail by dozens of people to create this event have all been worth it. It was, as they say, more than worth the price of admission. I might sound a little corny to say this, but the heavenly host that sang with the angel in that dark night might sound something like those children.
There's always the same benediction at the end of SCC concerts. "May the Lord bless you and keep you," those choristers sing in soaring harmony. Most of the time as they sing this they have rimmed the auditorium so that the sound bounces from all sides, a true blessing to the concert-goers, supporters and family. But today as they sang, I thought, "Yes! Yes, SCC. The Lord has blessed and kept you these last twenty years and even before when you were only a dream in K's head. The Lord has made his face shine upon you, K, as you birthed this baby, nutured it, watched it grow. Yes, board members (of which I was a part years ago), the Lord has lifted His countenance upon you as you made hard decisions over the years, believed in the dream and gave it wings. And yes, SCC, the Lord has given you peace, and beauty, and riches aplenty--He has blessed you and made you a blessing to all who listen."