Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Christmas Day has come and gone so now I will finally tell you how I reacted to the sound of angels singing recorded on ED’s cellphone.

First, I need to tell you, the recording was very brief, no more than a second or two. Secondly, when I heard it, I didn’t weep as Ed had done. But I did get those little shivers down my spine that one gets when you round a bend in the road and see a great lush valley and an aquamarine lake surrounded by the grandeur of mountains bathed in the golden light of a sunset or some other wondrous thing. And thirdly, I wanted to hear it again. It was like immediate addiction.

Now we all know that no more than five syllables can be crammed into a one-second blip, but I heard the sound of a thousand voices crammed into that same space. A harmony of sound interwoven like silk mixed with steel. Soft, but at the same time crushing. Unfortunately, however, ED and I only got to play it twice because through some technical (or celestial) glitch, with the third attempt it was gone.

But (as ED has already said), it was not the words. I didn’t understand any of them (perhaps they were in German), but the melody and blend of voices that was so delightful. And with the adoration that I felt, there came subtle gratuitous gifts for the season. Peace, joy, contentment, comfort, gratefulness for life and conscience, reason and faith, and every blessing.

For those without hope and faith, it would no doubt be a sound that would only bring disgust, irritation, and provocation, particularly because of its uncanny welding quality. A welding to the mind that leaves you utterly helpless. Because no matter how hard you shake your head, no matter how much you seek to deny it, no matter how much you seek to erase it, it will not come loose. Despite the ease with which it disappeared from ED’s cellphone, I am certain it can never be erased from my consciousness. Despite my inability to remember what I did yesterday afternoon or even this morning, that tiny little bit of melody has anchored in my brain like a steel pillar welded into a huge slab of concrete.

Now in order to find the metaphor that will give you an understanding of the purity of those voices I want to compare them to something untouched, uncontaminated, unaltered by human hand. And in this world how can I hope to find such a thing? We no longer have pure water, pure air, a pristine bit of countryside, or an unadulterated stretch of sand. Even the heavens are corrupted with star-like bodies that are man-made. So without benefit of any clarity that a metaphor could bring, I can only tell you this.

The voices came out of the darkness. Anonymous voices. Voices unattached to any particular identity. And because of this there was no contamination. No will in any one singer to gain prestige, recognition, or even, some greater level of appreciation for their cant. No self-edification. No competitiveness. No list of credits. No hope or expectation of accolades, starpower, or applause. And without the accompaniment of instruments none of the fears or cautions or even comfort that go with that.

No striving of any one individual to be heard above the rest. No striving to reach and be visible from front and center stage. To display physical beauty or fashion of dress. Voices pure and pristine. Uncontaminated by this list of impurities that affect every other voice that we hear – whether singing Stars or Starlets, or Hopefuls, or Church Choirs, or anyone on stage who is positioned and identified by a circle of light.

Voices with one and only one intent. To celebrate and laud the meaning of Christmas, without any of the contamination I have mentioned. And this brings me to a statement that Buffy made on my previous post.
A statement that staggered me because it was unexpected and so closely linked to my own assessment of angel voices.

Buffy said:

“Years ago, I used to play in an adult concert band. The performers were incredibly talented and we played some very complex music. I realized at one of the concerts that I could hear women’s voices singing a decant above the performance, and wondered who could have been singing along with us.

Another member of the band explained that when musicians…play “in tune”, you can hear endless degrees of harmonics…above the chords being played.”

How incredible is that? This is how ED initially described the voices – with a harmony that was unequaled. Sounding like a multitude of voices when there were no more than ten.

It follows that for angels to sing there has to be a refinement similar to that which Buffy described. But like our many endangered species of plants and animals, there is no climate left for angels to sing that has not been contaminated with the toxicity of each singers’ desire for self-recognition. Or the toxicity of a waving baton, or a Theatre Master’s instructions, or a Singing Teacher’s whims, etc. etc.

Except perhaps, within a darkened simple school building on a Hutterite Colony. That is the one place left in this world where you still can and might hear angels singing.


Blogger Eleanor said...

Happy New Year to you and all of your family, Roberta. May 2006 bring you all of the good things in abundance.

I grew up just down the road from a Hutterite colony. Wonderful people and the best neighbours/friends you could ever hope for. And yes, they can sing! We were treated to many performances at the colony, as well as in our own living room. All were special, but none more so than their choral visit just after my dad died. I don't know if angels were singing along with them that evening, but I know that I've never heard anything quite so beautiful or comforting in my life.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

Thanks for that lovely comment, Eleanor. I'm quite certain you heard the same voices we heard of angels singing and that is why you received such strength and comfort.

...and of course the best of the New Year to you as well.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Esther said...

After you wrote this, I started looking for angels on line since my curiousity was aroused. I found this website, (can't remember where), but it had antedotes about people who had heard angels singing. One story was especially touching. It was about a small boy 8, who had to listen to his parents fight every night very physicially, his father would beat his mother. He also had a younger brother who was about 2 or 3. When social services finally intervened, the toddler was in his crib smiling beautifully. When asked why he was smiling, it was because he was listening to the "angels singing".

12:56 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

That is certainly a beautiful story, esther. Seems like more than a few have heard angels sing.

10:47 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home