This is an (edited) extract from “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery.
Paloma, a 12yo girl, writes about listening to her school choir …
“Every time it’s a miracle. Here are all these people, full of heartache or hatred or desire, and we all have our troubles … and there’s this life we’re struggling through, full of shouting and tears and laughter and fights and break-ups and dashed hopes and unexpected luck – it all disappears, just like that, when the choir begins to sing.
Everyday life vanishes into song, you are suddenly overcome with a feeling of brotherhood, of deep solidarity, even love, and it diffuses the ugliness of everyday life into perfect communion.
Even the singers’ faces are transformed … I see human beings, surrendering to music …
… It’s too beautiful, everyone singing together, this marvellous sharing. I’m no longer myself, I am just one part of a sublime whole, to which the others also belong, and I always wonder at such moments why this cannot be the rule of everyday life, instead of being an exceptional moment, during a choir performance.
When the music stops, everyone applauds, their faces all lit up, the choir radiant. It is so beautiful.
In the end, I wonder if the true movement of the world might not be a voice raised in song.”
Thank you, Doug and Carolynn, for bringing this delightful piece to our attention.