Saturday, August 21, 2010

Singing in the Stairwells

I am amazed at the acoustics in the stairwells where I work. I can sing a note, and it seems to take on an ethereal quality as it rises up and bounces off the various concrete surfaces. I try not to sing in the stairwells too often. I know that would look weird to people.

Happily, not many people use the stairwells where I work. When I need an uplift, I go to the stairwells and sing a note or a phrase, often from Compline or the line I learned at Mepkin Abbey: "Oh, God, come to my assistance. Oh Lord, make haste to help me."

It sounds so beautiful, in a way that singing does not in most suburban church buildings. I imagine that medieval monasteries and cathedrals might have had similar acoustics to my stairwells.

I feel my chest open up when I sing those notes that swirl around me. I feel my brain let go of stress. I feel as if there's a portal that takes my sung notes directly to God.

When it comes to singing, I have a whole bag of mixed emotions about my singing. I feel like I have a decent voice, but I never know for sure that it will perform. But in the stairwells, I'm always awed by the sound of my voice.

I wonder if all stairwells have similar acoustics. I hope so. As we become a nation of stair avoiders, maybe we can start reducing our stress by singing there. No one will discover us, and we can enjoy the beautiful acoustics and the sounds swirling to God.

No comments: