Singing Together as Community   Leave a comment

Here’s a short excerpt from a wonderful interview by Terry Gross of NPR. What he says about singing is so on target! I’ve made those parts bold…

GROSS:

If you’re just joining us, my guest is Henry Quinson. He’s a monk who used to be a currency trader. He is the monastic adviser for the new film “Of Gods and Men,” which won the Grand Prix, the second-highest prize, at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. And it’s based on the story of French monks in Algeria who worked with poor people in a rural Algerian village. Seven of the monks were kidnapped in the monastery by Islamic extremists in 1996, and were later beheaded.

So you spent six years in a monastery in which the monks were expected to spend a lot of the day in silence. But about four hours a day were spent singing as a group, singing hymns and spiritual songs. What is the importance of singing in that order?

Mr. QUINSON:

Yeah. Four hours is a lot. Some people told me that people who – singers, professional singers do not actually sing four hours a day. Something like – I think it’s 15 percent of the words that you can actually hear in that movie are songs. So I think it’s an experience, a human experience – not necessarily a religious one, but a human experience that people can actually share in, that if you sing together, there’s a harmony, there’s a unity that is physical. I mean, you are actually breathing together. And so a community is going to be stronger if every day, you’re able to sing together. Of course, in the case of monastic life, singing together is also a prayer. But the fact is that it’s at the same time, a human experience. Singing together is a human experience and the same time, it’s sharing in what really brings you together. And that’s, I think, one of the major points, both in the real life of the monks of Tibhirine and also in the movie.

The full interview is at :

http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=133372394

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Posted March 21, 2011 by Ray Urwin in Uncategorized

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