Let’s summarize the choir’s achievements for the year 2023 …. What have we accomplished?
Thanks to the opportunities we had, it was a golden year. So much has happened. First of all, we prepared by having several “choir retreats.” In fact, we met for 4 hours on Tuesday afternoons, at least once a month, and before Christmas, even twice a month, and this was in addition to the regular weekly rehearsals. However, all this work allowed us to make a leap in quality that produced a recording of a double album with Swami Kriyananda’s chants. On July 10th and 11th, at the little church of the Monastery of San Biagio, with 2 important sound engineers who came from Milan, and despite the fact that it was very hot, we managed to record and complete our second album (the first was the one with the Christmas chants). So now we have a wonderful product consisting of a joyful booklet with various information and lots of photos; and a USB stick containing 23 of Swami’s songs in both MP3 and WAV format, which is a high quality format.
Then this summer, around a table during Sunday lunch at Ananda, Francesca Nicastro from Conegliano proposed that we go and do a Christmas concert in her town…and why not in other towns in the Veneto region as well? Well, that was just what had to happen because the Pes family from Spilimbergo (Friuli) was also present at the table, and, with their enthusiasm, they too wanted to join this project. But since we were in the Veneto region, why not propose it in Padua? So immediately Mauro from Padua was also happy to participate. From that hot summer Sunday, a whole organization took off and a tour of the Joyful Singers, a small group of the Ananda Joy Choir, was put together for Christmas concerts in December. It was a magnificent experience for all of us – both for the organizers, whose enthusiasm produced 3 beautiful concerts, and for us in the choir. The 3 churches were filled with people, and as we sang, we saw the eyes and faces of the audience slowly filled with Light, as they were affected by our energy, joy, and the beauty of the songs. At the end of each concert, so many had the desire to know us better, to know about us, and from everything they told us at that moment, but also in the days that followed, we know that we touched so many hearts.
But let’s continue to talk about the other engagements this year. We sang every morning when Jyotish and Devi were here (the whole month of August), and also when Asha was here. Certainly for the choir it has been a busy year, but the wonder of being able to sing Swamiji’s songs together, being able to touch and embrace each other with our hearts whenever we see each other – for example, at rehearsals – has made us a close-knit group of friendship, of Love, of supporting each other, and of eating lots of chocolate and cookies – yes, because during the retreats Lakshmi always had different kinds of cookies, chocolate and chips for us, and Namasya cheered us up with her Chai tea. Do you think that all these rehearsals and fulfilling all the choir commitments and events is tiring? Absolutely not! Peter is always a lot of fun, both in rehearsals and during concerts. Of course he makes us work hard and a lot. I often repeat that for me, singing in the choir is, first of all, a great honor and a fortune…it fills me with Love and joy. Singing brightens your life and your heart.
But of course, we could not leave out the conclusion from our Choir Director, Peter. Here is what he told us at the beginning of this year:
“This achievement was made possible by many hours of studying together, in which we sought technical improvement, but also greater musical understanding and inner attunement. This achievement is an intermediate goal, as I consider it a good starting point. Thank you all for your efforts.”
And now, what’s next for us in 2024? We have reserved 5 days in June and 5 days in mid-December where we will perform a Christmas concert in Milan and maybe also one in Switzerland, and then, we will be free – in fact, if you want to organize a nice concert, let us know and we will be very happy to come. If you feel like supporting our work and efforts, you can buy the double album that was recorded this summer Lift Your Hearts, which is sold by the choir and at the front desk.