Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Enjoyed a very beautiful evening at Southfields Baptist Church in the company of Austrian conductor Achim Holub, as he led a small group of musicians and singers through a seasonal show of Christmassy chorales.

Usually I'm one of the first to protest when a church building has a lot of echo (because a sermon can get lost in it), but the harmonies I heard tonight had my opinions seriously back-pedalling. Of course. Churches. Music. They're echoey for the music.

When the first soloist stood up and opened his mouth, he positively thundered. It was awesome.

Song after song followed, each so intricately detailed that, rather than let it wash over me, I found that I was listening very intently. Not so much to the lyrics, but rather to the beauty of it all.

During some pieces I could have sworn that my ears were perceiving many more people than I could see, so for a few numbers I found it helpful to close my eyes.

Another duet featured a ghostly delayed echo from high above and behind us, thanks to the strategic position of the second singer.

At another moment everything got loud. Really loud. Usually such a volume would make me wince, but these sounds were so graceful that I was instead embracing them all.

A really special evening, all the more so given how little I usually 'get' music.

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