Upon Entering the Sacred and Beautiful Space

The following writing was written by C. Hoffman – one of the wonderful Wednesday Writers.

GraceUpon entering the sacred and beautiful space that is Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Once a week the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble gathers for two and a half hours in the space of Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in downtown Colorado Springs.  Every Tuesday evening each member of the ensemble slowly filters in, each at their own pace.  Some look up at the church as they walk toward it.  Some notice the solitary statue of Saint Francis of Assisi standing in the courtyard, and how the fountain surrounding it has been turned off for the winter season.  Some park their car a few blocks away because they want to enjoy the walk to the rehearsal.  Some arrive early to help carry the large wooden risers into the sanctuary for the rehearsal.  Some arrive
early and just sit and listen to the silence of the church space.  But we all assemble for one purpose: to listen to one another and to make a beautiful, unified sound as one voice.
The space of the church naturally lends itself to the beauty of the human voice.  It lets the sound travel upwards toward the heavens, allowing it to fill the rafters, bounce off of the stone foundations.  There are various halls and spaces within the church where the sound travels.
Our warm up time always has me imagining that our voices are a sort of collective oxygen flowing
through the lungs of the sanctuary.  When we sing we breathe life into the space we are singing in, we help and allow it to breathe and be alive with us.  In our silences, between measures and breaths, the space settles and waits. When we sing with full emotional capacity and supported sound I feel as if we could, and just might, burst through the stained glass windows, filling the courtyard and city streets.

Every Tuesday I am thankful to be a part of the moving, breathing and living entity that is CVAE.  I am a part of the alto section, a new member to the section.  I consider it a blessing and privilege to make music with the section and in the ensemble as a whole.  It is the part of my week that I look forward to the most.  It is the part that makes me feel human and connected to something bigger beyond myself.

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