When I told Friend with Funky Glasses that the Impossibly Big Ass Choir was performing the Joyful Ode, she said that she had never cared for that song because it was so militaristic.
Once she said that, I just couldn't look at it the same way again. (Friend with Funky Glasses always has very profound things to say. We like her.)
And then it occurred to me. Those of us who sing, or play an instrument view ourselves as creative, free spirits, independent thinkers. But there is nothing creative about music.
Sure, the person who wrote the piece of music was very creative. But once that music is down on paper, it becomes oppressive for those performing it.
To sing, you must count. 1-2-3-4. You must hit that pitch in the centre of the note. You must sing that note at exactly the right time, in unison with the others, or you are Wrong.
If you are Wrong, everyone turns and looks at you with contempt. How dare you rebel against the group? You are a Bad Singer.
We stand in rows at attention. Watching the man with the baton who counts the time. 1-2-3-4. When he points at us, we sing. When he closes his hand, we stop. We are told to smile. We do. We are even told when we are allowed to breathe. We obey.
Music isn't creativity. Music is conformity.
Still, it was pretty cool when everyone in the crowd gave us that standing ovation.