Music is Community

Tears well up in my eyes as the voices of people I love wash over me. Even as I pick out individual timbres, I hear one unified song coming from friends who are like family to me…

This weekend I had the bittersweet experience of hearing the first concert of the York College Concert Choir in their new home, the Bartholomew Performing Arts Center. Click here if you’d like to watch the video of this glorious event! During the concert, I thought about all of the moments in my life that this group had seen me through – the concert we gave days after my Papa passed away, the smiles and encouragement I received the semester I shaved my head for a play, the sustenance I had even when I skipped lunch for rehearsal, the laughs shared after long weeks of little sleep – and I couldn’t help but feel blessed. Blessed to have been a part of a group that was so special, so focused on God, and so much like a family.

choir family

At the end of York College concerts, alumni are invited back up to sing two “traditionals” with the choir. If you can’t see me, it’s because I’m in the middle of the back row sharing a hug with my forever friend Nolan!

After the concert, Caleb and I spent some time with two of our friends, Matthew and Nicole, who shared not only choir with us, but some of our big “life moments”. They sang at our wedding. They performed on stage with us. They spent time listening to our dreams and our fears. They saw us for who we really were. Nicole proposed to me, for goodness sakes 😉

These people, whose voices sometimes feel as familiar as my own, have brought friendship and music to so many days of my life over the years. Singing with them feels like coming home, so singing is exactly what we did. Saturday after the concert, we sat in Caleb’s car and sang whatever we wanted (in 4-part harmony, of course). During those moments, I realized how few times I have truly made music by myself. Yes, during college I spent many hours alone in the practice room, singing and re-singing solo repertoire, choir music, and anything else that needed work. Today, I have a constant stream of songs playing through my head that I experience alone. But when it comes down to it, I almost always create and perform with others. Music has been made with friends, family, teachers, accompanists, choirs, my students, small groups, orchestras, etc. etc. etc. Music in my life was, and still is, based on community.

This week I challenge you to appreciate the ways in which music has brought friendship, family, and camaraderie into your life.

  • If you are a member of a band, choir, orchestra, or musical group, cherish the blessing of creating art with one another.
  • If you sing in the car with your mom, thank her for the music you can both enjoy.
  • If your friend (husband 😂 ) harmonizes with you as you listen to 90s slow jams, take a moment to enjoy the moment.
  • If you are praising God with others, lift your voices to honor him through the relationships he created.

For those of you who have shared the gift of making music with me, I say thank you. And I love you.

Lord Reign in Me from brianna branches out on Vimeo.

This recording is a little soprano heavy, my bad 😅

What are some ways you make music with others? Who or what is your “music community”?


18 thoughts on “Music is Community

  1. Skylar Perran says:

    I agree with Ellen! This is a beautiful post!! 🙂
    Oh, and I saw that video of the song you wrote! It’s really good! I got pretty excited when I heard the violin in it, because I happen to just LOVE violins. I actually play the violin myself! 🙂
    Yes, music is SO fun!! My family loves to sing and play instruments, and it’s always fun when we can harmonize with each other! 🙂 (Oh, and by the way, I know this is kinda random, but great job with the singing group at church on Sunday!) 🙂


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