For the past several weeks, our part of Texas had begun to feel a lot like Ireland in winter. Rain. Continual rain. More rain. Occasional wind. Cool temperatures. Then more rain.
We had just about forgotten how sunshine looks and feels, when suddenly, one late afternoon, the clouds rolled back as a scroll and sunshine was magically everywhere. At dusk, some clouds floated back into the west, and the sunset produced was one of the most spectacular displays of color and dimension some of us had ever seen.
As far as majestic sunsets go, was this colorful display all that unusual or more breathtaking than others? Maybe, maybe not. One thing was for sure: it had been so long since we had seen sun, blue sky, colors and hues that this particular sunset seemed extraordinarily beautiful.
Absence does, indeed, make hearts grow fonder. Appreciation for beauty grows when there is adequate time and space to pull away from it, to reflect, and to long for the next installment of grandeur.
The San Antonio Youth Chorale schedules three to four short seasons per year, each season being six to ten weeks long. The schedule of short seasons and breaks creates a focus and intensity that is palpable for both student singers and YouthCUE leadership. The breaks allow students and families (and yes, us adult leaders) to recharge and enjoy a change of scenery before we begin again. When we do begin again, the attendance is highly consistent, the energy is strong, the focus is laser-beam, and the disciplinary issues are zero.
Today is a Saturday in the midst of the offseason, and we gathered the group for burgers and a couple of hours of connection. We have not been together in a month. Included today in the large group of SAYC students were two brand new faces, new students checking us out to see if this is a fun group to be around.
Short seasons. Frequent breaks. Intensive projects. World-class rewards at the end of the term.
These are a few of the things that make the San Antonio Youth Chorale the success it is today. After five years and sixteen seasons, we have involved over 260 students in our programming. Most of these have graduated and are now in universities all over the US and, indeed, around the world. Just over 70 are slated to begin our next season, which begins in a few weeks and will end with the Baylor Festival of Youth Choirs in mid-February.
Whether we’re discussing sunshine, sunsets, or youth chorales, being away from it for a while always increases the appreciation for the beauty, the artistry, and the community.