Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others

Title:  Imperfect Harmony:  Finding Happiness Singing with Others
Author:  Stacy Horn
Publication Information:  Algonquin Books, Workman Publishing. 2013. 284 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book arrived as a paperback edition.

Favorite Quote:  "If singing in a choir has taught me anything, it's that what may initially seem strange and dissonant can later strike some of the most harmonious chords in your life."

Imperfect Harmony:  Finding Happiness Singing With Others tells a story on many different levels. It is the story of Stacy Horn and the role music plays in her life, through the good times and the bad. It is the story of the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York City where Stacy has been a member for many years. It is the story of significant pieces of choral music such as Verdi's Requiem and Handel's Messiah. It is the story of formal and informal singing groups such as the People's Chorale Union and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale. It is a story of choral music overall and its place in history such as the story of the 9/11 rescue workers singing as they dealt with their efforts.

This book contains a lot of research and a lot of information. It is an insider's look at this artistic endeavor, and it has something for singers and non-singers alike. Did you know that over 32 million adults in the US participate in a chorus? Did you know that people join often join choirs regardless of religious beliefs because of the joy music brings? Did you know that the Metropolitan Museum in New York City hosted its first Christmas concert in 1955? Did you know that German composer Franz Xaver Biebl wrote Ave Maria for a company of firemen competing in a local competition?

The conversational tone of this book makes it easy to read and absorb the information. Stacy Horn's personal story lends to the tone of the book and prevents it from becoming a textbook look at the topic. A fascinating look into a popular pastime.

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