ENHANCED LANDSCAPES 101
Lesson 6 – Despite COVID-19, the Singing Dream Still Abounds!
There are approximately 5,400 species that can make repeatable musical vocalizations (i.e., sing!). Of those species, only one—humans—lives on the ground. Humans are also the only singing species with a shared sense of rhythm. This allows us to sing together. A flock of birds can sing the same notes, but only humans can sing those notes as one. Science also tells us that when a group of people sing together, their hearts also start beating together. What a great gift—our ability to sing (live) with one another. Let us never forget this asset that has been bequeathed to us. For when we sing together, we truly can accomplish marvelous things!
As I sit in my home office right now, I don’t feel much like singing. Because of the pandemic, we are all isolated from friends, coworkers, and even family. Our routines have been totally derailed and future plans have been paused. We’ve had to adapt quickly to a radically different lifestyle. Quite frankly, it can get downright depressing processing it all. So how do we sing together when we are having a difficult time even finding our voices individually? I think the answer is to be even more intentional about investing in relationships and valuing our ability to work as a team for the common good.
One of my favorite Broadway songs is “What You’d Call a Dream” from Diamonds, a show about baseball (my favorite version is sung by my friend John Riesen).
There are two men out
And it’s in the ninth
And the score is four to three.
There’s a man on first
And a man at bat
And the man at bat is me.
And I’m sorta scared
And I’m sorta proud
And I’m stronger than I seem
And I take a swing
And my dad is there
And it’s what you’d call a dream
For the ball flies in the sun
And it sails off as I run
The crowd is roaring, cheering as I go
So are all the guys on the team
And I run for home
And we win the game
And it’s what you call a dream
— Aaron Tveit
As a kid, I was a baseball fanatic. I collected baseball cards and followed each team’s statistics studiously every day in the newspaper. More than anything, I would love to have been part of winning baseball team. Unfortunately, my limited athletic abilities stood in the way of that. Fortunately, though, by singing in choirs, I’ve been part of teams that have meant more to me than any baseball team could. Choirs have shown me, time and again, examples of strength in the face of adversity, creativity in the face of obstacles, and encouragement in the face of a world that often thrives on pessimism. These coming weeks will be a challenge for all of us, but if we continue to communicate as a choir team in support of one another, we will be even better at singing when we’re finally together again!
And we run for home
And we win the game.
And it’s what you call a dream
Matt Allen, a native of Shreveport, LA, is a YouthCUE alumnus from the 1990s. He is married to Ashley (they sang in youth choir together) and they have two beautiful children, Thomas (11) and Grace (6). The Allens live in San Antonio, and Matt currently serves on the YouthCUE Board of Trustees.
- Think back to your own childhood and adolescence. How important was teamwork throughout your early experience in athletics, scouting, music, theater, debate, student council, band, choir, mission projects, community service, and other formative areas of your life? Name them and list some important lessons learned from this teamwork.
- When the epidemic is over – or at least after the worst part and isolation have passed – how will you view your vocation differently that you did before? For what specific things will you be more grateful and less likely to take for granted?