Chora Link - September 2018
Peggy Dettwiler

Eastern Region President
Rochester, NY

W hile in graduate school, I recall reading a text entitled, A Philosophy of Music Education by Bennett Reimer. Six of the chapters focused on the “aesthetics” of music. As brilliant as the writing was, I don’t recall truly understanding an “aesthetic experience” after completing the course!  

I have come to understand this elusive term more and more as I work with choirs of all ages. It is best described, I believe, as the “wow” experience: a moment when your breath is taken away; when chills travel up and down your spine. An aesthetic expe--rience can occur certainly in a concert performance or even in a rehearsal, but it is always an experience of living in the moment. 

I t is true that we live our lives through three realities: reflecting and learning from the past, experiencing the now, and dreaming of the future. In his best selling book, The Power of Now, author Eckhart Tolle states: “the more you are focused on time, past and future, the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” He further suggests that the nature of being human often prevents us from consciously living in the now. Our thoughts and emotions, which guide us, are continually pulling from the past and reaching into the future, not allowing us to really live in the present. 
H owever, in choral rehearsals and performances, we have the opportunity and the pleasure of experiencing music-making moment by moment. As we pull a phrase, or experience a dynamic harmonic progression, or witness a singer express to the fullest, we can enjoy the beauty embodied in the moment.

S ometimes it is difficult to let go in our music making, and in real life; the worry of what is coming next or the fretfulness of what has just passed by overtakes our mind. However, in our music-making, as in our living, if we can focus on the here and now, releasing ourselves to experience the present moment fully, we will heighten our sensitivity to beauty.
A n ancient Sanskrit prayer describes this philosophy very powerfully.

“Look to this day! For it is life, the very
life of life. In its brief course lie all of the
verities and realities of your existence;
the bliss of growth, the glory of action,
the splendor of beauty. For yesterday is
but a dream; and tomorrow is only a
vision; but today, well-lived, makes every
yesterday a dream of happiness and
every tomorrow a vision of hope.” 

L et us look to this day, to this moment of music making, and live it to the fullest!

Peggy Dettwiler

February 27 - March 2, 2019
Kansas City, MO
Upcoming Events in the Eastern Region
CONNECTICUT - Fall Conference, Oct. 27 - Guilford H.S., Guilford, CT

DELAWARE - Festival for Women's Voices, Nov. 9 - Sanford School, Hockessin, DE
Registration due by Oct. 1, 2018 Joanne Ward:

MAINE - Fall High School Festival, Nov. 7 - Mesalonskee H.S. (northern site); Nov. 8 - South Portland H.S. (southern site)

MASSACHUSETTS - Children's Choir Reading Session, Sept. 22 - First Unitarian Universalist Society, West Newton, MA. K.C. Conlan:

High School Choral Festival, Oct. 20 - UMass, Amherst, MA. Registration closes Oct. 5, 2018. Kirk Averitt:

NEW HAMPSHIRE - New England Collegiate Conference, Sept. 15 - Castleton University, Castleton, VT

NEW JERSEY - Voices United Choral Festival, Nov. 2 - East Orange H.S., East Orange, NJ

PENNSYLVANIA - Fall Conference, Oct. 26-27 - Lincoln University, Chester County, PA.

 VERMONT - VMEA/VT-ACDA Fall Conference, Oct. 5. - Castleton University, Castleton, VT

Links to State Chapters