By Scott Rieker

Director, Emerson Choir




In one of my favorite stories from the Christian scriptures, some folks are attracted to Jesus’ teaching. When they inquire more deeply, he doesn’t try to explain every detail and every contingency. Instead, he says, “Come and see.” He’s trying to convey that some things must be experienced to be understood. This truth is present in the coach who says, “You’ll never know until you try,” and in the bon vivant who asserts, “An awkward morning beats a boring night.”


The most powerful experiences are those which involve our whole self. Strictly intellectual endeavors fade, as do entirely physical activities. Can you recall solution of sine over cosine? How about specific details about pulling weeds? But combine emotion, intellect, and the body, and you’ll never forget. A wedding day? Graduation? Winning the championship?


Experiences that involve the whole self also usually take effort to accomplish successfully. One rarely weds by accident, nor graduates, nor receives a championship trophy. They physical and mental expenditures provide a satisfying emotional experience for a job well done.


Music is like that, too. The intellectual challenge of interpreting written notation, the physical challenge of creating a sound that approximates the symbols on the page, and the feeling of accomplishment when those two activities coincide is both incredibly rewarding, and something that takes repetition to have legitimate success. It must be experienced to be understood.


You frequently see the choir sing during services at Emerson, and I hope that it provides you some manner of transformational experience. However, without actually “musicking,” you will not know whether you could have success singing in choir. “You won’t know unless you try.” “Come and see.”


On Sunday, September 11, after the regular service, we will be providing you the opportunity to do just that. We are providing an “immersive choral experience” to allow you to Try It Out. Come sing amidst the members of the choir without cost or obligation. No particular musical skill or background is required. Encounter what it’s like to be surrounded by people trying to sing and having varying degrees of success. The process of singing together defies strictly intellectual or strictly physical understanding. It is an undertaking of the whole self that must be experienced to be understood. Please join us for our “Try It Out Rehearsal.”


Come and see.