What was the best thing about being involved?
The best thing was the music, singing in a group, singing difficult pieces, the experience of learning the music and letting it slowly find its way into our voices, and then eventually coming out as one coherent harmony that none of us could produce on our own.
What was the biggest challenge?
At the time, I would have said that we never had any interpersonal issues in the choir – it was so big that there were always new people to meet and chat to. One of my friends was on the committee, though, and years later she told me that there was a ton of politics going on. Looking back, I can see now that there were tensions under the surface: some people came only for the music and didn’t want to talk to anybody; some people came mostly for the company and to make friends. Some people were brilliant musicians building professional careers, others were not so talented and slow to learn their lines. Some people were super serious about the competitions, others just wanted to have fun and go drinking afterwards. We weren’t a really close group, and we actually needed the director to be very strict with us, even though we complained about that at the time.
What was the legacy in your life?
I have been part of other choirs since, mostly smaller than this one, and I still love that feeling of creating a beautiful sound together. Maybe I also learned that you can be part of something in quite a loose way – without being close friends with everybody, without even knowing everybody’s name – and that there is still value in that.