See You Wednesday (Or, Evensong)

There comes a moment of transcendence, at about 17:39 Eastern Standard Time on Wednesdays. It’s best in late February, when the sun releases the strain to stay aloft at precisely five minutes prior, and its warmth pours in through the windows, desperate to push past every particle of dust in order to mix with the incense and song. The best position is at the front, at the pinnacle of the reverberating rhythms and the distillation of each person’s concentration powers.

The outside world isn’t there. Memories of frost and the chilly windowpanes, just right of the pipes, cannot penetrate the heat of breath and the rapidly working hearts. My brain is the warmest, broiling with concentrated blood vessels – though thoughts of the subthalamic structures cannot perturb me now. My wings are lifted with the deep voices behind my shoulders and my palate is ringing with tune.

Suddenly, a look passes between us all, ever so briefly, and we launch – with everlasting care and restraint – into the passages leading to the ultimate glorious notes. The swell of the pipes grows as if to rattle them soundly, urging us forward when we need no encouragement – only more focus, more breath! while inwards our breath is baited for the final crescendo. The race must be kept in check as we climb higher and higher and weave and meet and cross our parts, as if a sound fabric were cascading from our vantage point, behind us like threads and breadcrumbs, when we can never go back.

Chords seem to hover in almost painful essence at my ear before chiming throughout the echoing walls; I at once want to dissolve in the shimmering hum of sound waves and yet cannot forget for an instant: focus, focus, lower than you think, organ…rest – count, higher; focus! The punctuations keep my feet on the ground as my head leaves my body, even my throat, behind for labouring, while my cochlea trills ecstatically.

With wild brimming clarity we ring loudly as carillons on an encompassing, wheat-sown, acoustical plain! And there! We sing the grandest chord, bearing our bodies forth for the sound to battle with our parietal bones, and with firm resolution we end the final cadence.

We eagerly wait the final word from the conductor, who makes a pleased sign, and we resume seats, at approximately 17:46. Perfection cannot be accomplished always– but the thrill of clashing chords and the physical buzz of tuning satiates me enough to wait another week.


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