from a letter to a close friend:
I'm sleeping better now, and yesterday had the joy of singing all day. Why do I feel reluctant before going back to it in the fall, when music is the place -- that country completely without borders -- where I feel the most sense of "home?" In the morning: Lassus, Pitoni, and John Tavener's "Lord's Prayer;" in the afternoon, Orlando Gibbons and a big anthem by Charles Villiers Stanford on the same text as one of the Gibbons pieces, "Glorious and Powerful God."
I've included a clip of the Tavener for you. The music, almost too simple (which is where its difficulty lies) is marked "At the limits of audibility." We sang it after communion, and it was one of those moments when we sang as one body. I think everyone was glad to be back together, doing what we do.
During the afternoon rehearsal, as we were singing from the chancel, a visitor came up and stood near the director's podium until we reached the end of one of the Gibbons pieces, and then spoke to the choir - our director seemed pretty put off at first; understandably, he doesn't want rehearsals interrupted by strangers, and usually when someone approaches the chancel while we're rehearsing, they turn out to be unstable, and need to be gently guided away by a verger. This man, though, spoke with authority and understanding.
"I've been listening to you for the past half hour," he said, "and I'm terribly sorry I can't stay for the service at 4, but I have to reboard a tour bus that is leaving soon. I just want to say that what you're doing is extraordinary -- the sound is very very beautiful -- I just walked into the church from the street and never expected to find people here, doing this. And I know: I am a choir director myself, from Switzerland. Thank you, thank you," and then he smiled at us, inclined his head to the choir and nodded to our director, and walked off. I caught a last glimpse of him standing by the side door in the dimness, where he could quickly leave for his bus; he was leaning against a pillar, head back and eyes shut, still listening.