Thursday, June 21, 2012

A first impression (Louise)

General assembly is appealing to me for two big reasons. First, I love the plenaries, the governance process. I find it fascinating, and participating via video conference so far has felt very similar. I rarely want to speak at any of the microphones in person, so losing access to this part of the process should be fine.

The second opportunity I enjoy in person at GA is singing, both with the choir and with the crowd. Obviously I will not be able to join the choir this year. Sadly, the music on the livestreaming video is subpar. The fidelity is not great, and the microphones are not necessarily picking up all the participants. The sense of unity and musical fullness that comes from singing hymns with thousands of other people is completely lost.

I am also not enjoying singing the hymns in Spanish. As a trained singer, I have learned hundreds of songs in foreign languages. When the words are unknown, the power of the music itself is what carries me then. But in this setting, where the harmonies are lost and the camaraderie of the crowd is unavailable, I'm left with reading nonsense syllables on the screen while hearing many of my beloved melodies. The words that go with those melodies are now...wrong. Just wrong.

Does this make our Spanish speaking members and guests feel welcome? Or are we patronizing them by mangling their language as we dilute our love of the melodies? How do non-singers feel when they are presented with yet another barrier to participation?

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