Sarah and I had a surprising date tonight – a free concert at St. James Episcopal Church in Richmond for the USA tour of the Canterbury Cathedral Choir. This world-renowned choir of men and boys is on their first US tour in 10 years and is making stops in NYC and DC, among other places. They stopped here in Richmond for a concert tonight, which was superb.
They sang a beautiful French piece called Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure, which I had sung as a senior in High School. They also did the magnificent Zadok the Priest, which is often sung at coronations and other royal events.
Afterwards, there was a reception full of yummy foods. Sarah and I got to meet some of the young choristers and ask them questions about their lives. I found out that thousands of boys audition for a few dozen spots. They board at Canterbury for school, and they practice their singing every day. This choir has a 1400-year tradition of performing.
After watching Bill Maher’s movie Religulous earlier in the day (his “treatise” on hedonism and why theistic faith is delusional and destructive), I was struck with the thought of the wondrous beauty in the music of human voices (just listen to a clip of this choir on iTunes). Could such sounds really be the result of godless chance? I seriously doubt it. And that’s what Maher wanted me to do as a result of watching his movie – doubt. I just don’t think he had that type of doubt in mind when he produced the movie.