New beginnings. Sounds redundant, I know. I almost changed that opening, but it’s really correct. New beginnings.
One thing that all new beginnings have in common is that they are built on something that came before it. If you’re starting from scratch, then this isn’t a new beginning. It’s either new or it’s a beginning, but it isn’t both. However, if there was something there before, then you have a foundation on which you’re building. That’s the essence of a new beginning.
September is a month of new beginnings. We send our kids off to another year of school. They went last year, and they’re going again this year. It’s a new year. It may even be a new school. It’s a new beginning.
Television sets across the country are dominated by the new beginning to the football season. We all remember how great (or not so great) your favorite team’s season was last year. But this year will be different. It’s a chance to build on the previous season’s success or to shake off the remnants of the last year’s failure and have a new beginning.
Of course, if you’re Lloyd Larson, it’s really just about trying to forget last year’s disappointments in the Vikings’ wasted season and pretending that this year will be different. So, for Lloyd, it really is a new beginning.
See how this works?
In the choral world, church choirs are reuniting from a summer break and beginning a new season. In most churches the choir isn’t new, but the season is. We all gather together and see familiar faces that we’ve known for years. We sit in the same chairs in the same music room. It’s not last year; it’s this year. It’s a new beginning.
For those grizzled veterans of the church choir, this new beginning of the choir year is exciting. There’s new music to learn. There are old favorites to revisit. There might even be some new people in the choir to meet. For returning choir members, the new choir season is a true new beginning.
But what about those new church choir rookies? This is their first choir season. Everything is new to them. They don’t have a history of past choir experiences upon which to build. They haven’t sung with this group before. They haven’t sat in these chairs before. They may have never seen any of this music that you’ve performed dozens of times.
This isn’t a new beginning for them. It’s simply their beginning. Undoubtedly, they’re nervous. Will they fit in? Will the other members accept them? Will they get along with everyone – especially the director? Are they singing too softly? Too loud? Are they flat or sharp? It’s a whole world of unknowns. It’s like their first day of kindergarten all over again (sans nap time!).
Composer Steve Quesnel captured this excited fear so perfectly in his classic choral, The First Day of Choir. It was released in our Gentry Publications catalog in 1981, but it’s still so on target today. Whether you’re an old-timer or a newbie, you’ll enjoy this piece. Take a look at it here. The First Day of Choir
So have a little heart for the new kids. It’s their first time. They’ll need some handholding. They’ll need some reassuring. They’ll need an extra cookie or donut. (You’re welcome, new kids. I just got you all a second cookie!)
It also might be nice if everyone were to tell us all about their most memorable choral new beginnings. We’ve all had them. Some were sweet. Some were hilarious. There’s no sense in not sharing them. So, please, take a moment and relive some of your first day or choir memories below.
And, if anyone sees Lloyd Larson, be sure to give him a cookie and remind him that even though it’s never going to get better and even though the Vikings will always disappoint, there’s always next year. A new beginning is just around the corner.