We had some better-than-usual singing in Berkeley tonight. We had a fine visiting singer, David from Seattle, and I’ve noticed that really good visiting singers often improve a local singing — both, I suspect, because the addition of a fine voice always helps, and also because we local singers tend to be on our mettle and so we sing better.
But I was also thinking about a conversation I had with Marsha when we were driving back from the Trumpet singing. We were talking over why several stalwart singers were no longer coming to the local singings — and of course you always fear that they got tired of us, or the singing was bad one week, or something equally horrible. But when we went over the list of reasons why those former stalwart signers were no longer with us, they were had nothing to do with Sacred Harp: he got married and moved out of town, she’s doing a postdoc in another city, he’s on the road playing music, she’s finishing a graduate degree, he moved to the North Bay, and so on. I could think of one stalwart who stopped coming because he’s singing with another group, but he still comes when he can.
“It’s a very transient population,” said Marsha. And that’s really what it comes down to: we live in a major metropolitan area where many people come and live for only a few years while they go to school or hold a job, and then they move on. So we are always integrating new singers, and always saying goodbye to stalwart singers.
Posted six days after the fact, due to working long hours — another reason some singers drift away from Sacred Harp for a time.