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It’s been too long since I’ve written and I can’t help, but ask myself…why?

Well, I think there’s a pretty particular reason why – too much information. Too much uncertainty. Too much to think about. So many things that had been building up only to be released in a torrent under too little time.

This makes this whole past few months my perfect storm because I’ve never had the skill to process information quickly.

Let me take that back – I’ve never been able to to fully process complex information quickly. I’m known to make calls or come up with plans pretty quickly, but the year 2020…

When I was going through my pre-marital counseling, (a requirement from my pastor) my fiance and I had to fill out a personality test. We discussed our results to ensure that our lives together would be happy and so we could understand each other…and learn to avoid those landmines we stomp on every now and then.

It was during this phase of our counseling that my now husband came to understand that when I say I’ve got something to say, I’ve already worked out the topic or decision from beginning to end. He’s got input that I’ll take into account, but once I’ve opened my mouth the subject has already been debated in my head from every possible angle.

What wasn’t discussed is how much time that takes and what happens when too much information is provided. Much like this year in events, too much stimulation becomes problematic.

I took a step back from Chorus. At first, it wasn’t intentional. The beginning of the year was hard with problems and long hours at work or serious health concerns with family members not including trying to plan for a wedding. I wasn’t feeling confident with my singing either and how much time I was putting in. I wasn’t feeling like part of the Chorus – not because of the women and the singing, but because I, myself, felt off.

The outbreak of Covid-19 both helped and led to more heartache. It helped me personally start to pull myself together; giving me the time I needed to readjust and focus while suddenly becoming vulnerable to every possible input that was being put out electronically. Desperate for connection with the outside world, I allowed electronic sources to feed into my everyday life as I clung for some normalcy. 

This was my fatal mistake.

Three weeks into Covid-19 Quarantine, I woke up to a gray day similar to the day before. I checked my email over coffee and turned on my computer to start work. I remember feeling numb. I got halfway through the morning and the majority of the meetings before I completely broke down. My husband walked with me around the block and patiently let me empty myself. It wasn’t enough. I had to spend the rest of the day expelling all my fear and depression into my art. I felt better for a few days and more productive in my work, but that didn’t last long.

Exposed to the hurt, the cries for help and the anger from across the country I was fueling my brain with information I couldn’t possibly absorb fast enough. Everything suffered for it – including Chorus.

Finally, I was married – the biggest hurdle – and finished all the projects I’d hatched while in quarantine. I had nothing left on my plate except work, daily chores and exercising. There really wasn’t anything left to do, but get back to my old routines, (as best as I could) and reinvest myself in my interests. And yet…

I couldn’t do it. 

I just…couldn’t.

Maybe I had been away for too long. Maybe the stress I had felt at the beginning of the year re-emerged. Maybe I wasn’t interested in singing anymore. Maybe after all the phone calls and video chats with family and friends who I realized I hadn’t been doing a great job of keeping in touch with made me recognize that I was ungrateful for all that I had. Maybe all the information, everything that is currently happening in my life and around the world, finally caught up with me.

For two weeks, I sat at home being able to do nothing – paralyzed with this feeling and unable to motivate myself into doing anything.  

It was during this time that I was finally able to let my thoughts coalesce. I missed going to work in person. I missed being able to go out to enjoy a faire or on a whim just to see people and talk openly. I missed being with my closest friends – friends I couldn’t remember the last time I talked to and was now having to re-connect through a monitor. I missed planning my next vacation or visiting relatives. 

I missed singing every week in person.

I know and fully embrace the responsibility of our situation. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the loss of life from this virus and how much worse it really could be without taking responsibility for wearing a mask, washing my hands and protecting everyone through social distancing. I will never say that this type of protection isn’t essential because it is, but that responsibility does not comfort you from the loss of human connection and contact. No amount of screen contact or watching youtube videos will make up for that. I had let myself go past the point of hope where things I had once found joy were unable to reach me.

But I remembered that I still had that connection.

I remember the first night that Choral-Aires met over Zoom. It had been a few weeks with little communication beyond emails from our directors that I believe left us in shock and confused. Zoom was meant to be a short term fix while we waited out this infectious disease.

I turned on the computer, opened my email, clicked the link and waited for the screen to load. Within 5 minutes of being in Zoom, my eyes were full of tears and I was afraid my face would split in two from smiling. Faces I had gotten so used to seeing every Monday for the past 5 years were sitting across from me in their homes waving and smiling back at me. It felt like I hadn’t seen them in years, but more than that I was relieved to see people I knew and who knew me.

I get that feeling every time I login on Monday nights.

There are those out there who still care even when I’ve been missing from the action. Those who reach out to challenge, invite or encourage you. I still have a place to sing – even if I hate doing it on my own – every Monday night. I still have a place to go to take time out from all the hard decisions or life defining moments and breathe in a universal understanding that is music.

There is nothing in this world that can replace true human connection, but there’s something to be said about having a place to go during this time of the “New Normal” where you’re not being asked these difficult life questions. There’s a clear and simple expectation: lend your voice to the harmony of the song.

It took a lot to get to this point. I wasn’t alone and I found those who listened to my plight were supportive and understanding. This realization didn’t just come upon me and I definitely didn’t sit upright in the middle of the night waking my husband with an, “AHA! I’ve got it!” And I didn’t always reach out for help. Help came to me from letters, emails, notifications, well wishes, phone calls and video chats.

Technology, through all of our improvements in everyday life, will never replace the feeling of being in a room with other people singing, laughing and learning from each other, but it can promote hope when you find the right outlet. It keeps us connected in a time where there would otherwise be none.

There are times we end up avoiding the things we love to deal with the bigger questions in our life and that’s important – gaining your bearings – but I found the importance in having a place to go back to.

As I step forward into what I hope is a new beginning – knowing there is still so much more to come – I hope that you have that place, that sense of home to go back to whether it’s singing or something else. You do you!

But…if you do want a place to return to or a place to sing, how about joining us on Monday nights, either via Zoom or hopefully, someday soon, in person?


Published by sjungblut

A woman in the workforce by day, a singer by night, an artist in between it all.

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  1. Sally, as usual this was inspiring. I think you spoke for all of us when you articulated your obstacles in trying to find some “normalcy” in this abnormal time. True that Zoom certainly doesn’t replace chorus on Monday nights, but I always leave the rehearsal with a smile on my face and loving that I know I belong with the Choral-Aires if only on Zoom for now!
    Bev H.


  2. Sally once again you have given so much perspective to our current situation. I too had and still have, but not as frequently, a feeling of being “lost” and alone. It took a while to adjust to the “new” life. Of course rehearsals aren’t the same. Hardly anything is. But seeing those beloved smiling faces on Monday night, brings belonging and friendship back. Our new song says “ it’s the music that brings us together, but it’s the friendships that make us stay.” Truth!


  3. I finally took the time to read your thoughts, and so glad I did. The feelings you described are similar to my own. With all that is happening with the pandemic and now the election, our Monday night Zooms seemed pointless and indulgent. Of course I know it’s “OK” to have something just for me, but I think it still felt empty. I know I’ll tune in again soon and see all the friendly faces. But it will not fulfill me until we are together again.


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