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COLUMNS

Jeff Fox: Longing to sing a new song

Staff Writer
The Examiner
Jeff Fox

I seem to survive each new wave of menacing technology ably if not adeptly.

Right now, I'm struggling to tell Spotify that, no, I really don't want to hear the Eagles.

Sorry, Class of '78 and Generation Jones generally, but I have become like that other Jeff – The Dude in “The Big Lebowski” – and I have simply moved past the Eagles, '70s music and the '70s generally. OK, The Dude says it a little more strenuously, but this is a family newspaper.

Times change, and we adjust. I've been cranking a lot of tunes through the iPhone, and in my fruitless effort to find the one great and glorious 75-voice rendition of “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” I've run into all sorts of other good stuff.

Just listen to the altos right here in “My Song in the Night” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I mutter to myself. A minute later, it's hey, I used to be able to hit that note, as the tenors briefly step into the limelight in “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” And Spotify did turn up the National Lutheran Choir, so I guess I can overlook the Eagles thing. These are moments of consolation.

But a person can only run from certains truths for so long.

I really miss the choir.

Work from home? Got it. Face mask, hand washing, social distancing? Easy. Drive-through groceries? Why didn't I think of this years ago. To paraphrase Lincoln, COVID-19 requires new thinking and new ways. Fine.

But the sweetest hour of week is – was – choir practice. The camaraderie. The challenge. The sweet, sweet music.

Now it feels like something slipping away. Many have stepped up wonderfully for solos in our Facebook services for the last four months, and that is a blessing. Still, we are eager to get together even though we know that time is not even in sight yet. When it's safe, we will gather.

But right now I want nothing more than to stand right in the middle as a dozen or so voices rise to create that one sweet chord or line that the morning's anthem has been building toward. And to tell myself – in that moment at least – that I'm doing my part. That particular moment of praise, beauty and bliss is out of reach right now, and that's something Zoom can't fix.

We row, as ever, to a new shore, this time toward one that remains over the horizon. On that shore, one day we will sing new songs of lament and penitence, trial and triumph, praise and joy. For now, we endure this darkness and question its meaning.

Jeff Fox is The Examiner's editor. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net or @FoxEJC.