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April 14, 2002: After

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There are tidbits of songs still chasing around in my head. If I close my eyes I can track down their melodies, and automatically hum the harmonies. I discovered during our final rehearsal that these songs have sunk inside me; that I can sing most of them with only a brief glance at the music and a few opening chords before my voice knows what notes to coax from my exhausted lungs.

The concert was last night – dinner followed by nearly two hours of music. Most of the choir members had a few chances to rest between songs, but those of us in the instrumental ensemble weren’t nearly as lucky. Encased in royal blue polyester robes, we were all far too warm, taking any chance we could to raise the robes and fan ourselves underneath. At one point during the intermission, as I walked rapidly through the social hall, robe bundled up around my waist in an attempt to at least cool off my lower half, one woman rushed up, eyes wide. Once we’d cleared up the laughing confusion, she realized I was wearing shorts underneath, not attempting to flash all those who’d stayed behind to clean up after the meal.

Dinner began at 5:30pm. The choir members were required to be there at 3:30 pm to begin the final dress rehearsal. The instrumental ensemble did their final practice at 2pm, which meant that I ended up spending most of my day at the church, singing or playing or else huddled in a pew trying to catch a quick nap along with the rest of the tired choir.

It went well. It passed quicker than any of us imagined it might. Despite the earlier confusion of where we were to go, and when we were to leave or return to the front of the sanctuary and in what order, somehow enough of us remembered each time to organize the others. No one set themselves on fire with the candlelit entrance. The readings blended easily with the music. The dinner was far better than many of us had expected for mass-produced church food, and we sang, oh how we sang. I have never understood before how singing could exhaust someone, but now I know.

Today is a slow and lazy day for Richard and I. The sun is shining and the breeze is perfect for drying laundry on the line outside. We’ve stripped the bed and gathered all the sheets and blankets and towels. There is nothing that has to be done today, except what we want to do, and we both need the rest.

But still, in my head, ghosts of last night, there is music. And there are songs.

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