Singing: The Most Democratic and Affordable Entry Point to Great Art …

… as a participant. “To sing in a choir is the quickest, surest, and best way to become intimate with music, to get close to the seat of its emotional life, where its heart-throbs can be felt and heard; to ‘experience’ it … to hold communion with its gentle saints and glorious heroes …”
– Henry Krehbiel, a 19th century music critic.

I was searching around for pictures to use for a presentation about singing I’m giving later this month at the Observatory in Brooklyn when I found this photograph.

The caption reads: June 1940. An all-day community sing in Pie Town, New Mexico. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

I tried enlarging the image to see what they’re singing but it’s not clear. My guess was Handel’s Messiah, that’s what it looks like. With singing you’re not just looking at a masterpiece, as you would when you go to a museum, you become the masterpiece.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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