It is Friday morning as I write these words.  THE Friday morning of the three days of concerts.  My thoughts are not about how much work we have put in, not about the huge effort and energy it takes to sing three concerts in three days; I am not thinking about the sacrifice of personal time I make in order to serve on the set up crew.  All I can think about this morning is gratitude.  So much gratitude to be able to march into Town Hall tonight with my fellow singers, gracing the community with our voices and spirit.  It feels like such a huge privilege. 

A wise friend of mine used to tell me that there are things we do that are “have to do’s,” and then there are the “get to do” things we take on as chosen responsibilities.  The “have to’s” are things like brushing teeth, washing dishes, paying bills— duties of various sorts.  The “get to do” things are more about what we do for the greater good.  We get to raise our children, take care of our elderly parents, listen to a friend who needs to be heard, make environment-friendly choices— we get to be of service.  Not everyone has these opportunities.  Not everyone takes the opportunities when they are available to them.  And so not everyone reaps the benefits.  What are those benefits?  They are infinite and immeasurable.  The old adage, “you reap what you sow” is so true.

Of the many benefits of singing in community, the one I appreciate the most is the feeling of belonging.  It is well known that the most important indicator of health, quality of life and longevity is one’s social connection.  Humans are social beings, and it’s those connections with others which help us thrive.  It is also well known that gratitude is a powerful and rewarding attitude.  I am so grateful to have gratitude.

Thank you, Allison.  Thank you, OCC Board.  Thank you, fellow singers and volunteers.  Thank you in advance to our audience. And last but definitely not least, in fact most of all, thank you Christopher Vazquez, my number one singing partner who became my husband earlier this year

 – Kat Black