Paul McCartney and Choirs
Paul McCartney is an extraordinary musican. As a member of the Beatles, the most famous rock band of all time, he established himself as both a performer and a songwriter. Guinness World Records described McCartney as the “most successful composer and recording artist of all time”, with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles. He has gone on to further distinguish himself in his post-Beatles life as a musician, but also as a supporter of various causes, one of which is music education. I especially appreciate one of his quotes that has to do with singing in a choir. He said, “I love to hear a choir. I love the humanity, to see the faces of real people devoting themselves to a piece of music. I like the teamwork. It makes me feel optimistic about the human race when I see them cooperating like that.” Isn’t that a wonderful statement? And, for those of us who are involved in choral music, doesn’t it resound with truth?
My early musical career was rather evenly divided between conducting choral ensembles and performing as a tenor soloist. Although I enjoyed my years as a solo singer, I never derived the same level of satisfaction from that as from working with groups of singers (either as a member or as a conductor). There is just something remarkable about a group of people coming from many different backgrounds and life experiences and working together toward a common goal of creating something beautiful and meaningful. I think McCartney was right on target when he used the words “teamwork” and “cooperating.” I wake up every day with a grateful heart that I have been given the opportunity to live in a world of choral music, and to have the opportunity to work with so many people who share with me their love for something we call “choir.”