Music’s healing power

We sang together in Salt Lake City 1980, competing for the first time in an international competition among barbershop choruses. He sang a solid bass, I was a newby among the leads. With only 36 singers on the risers, our chorus placed 6th, just one step below the top five earning medals. The winning chorus, from Scarborough, Ontario, placed more than 200 men on the risers.

Singing side by aside through strenuous rehearsals, coaching sessions and countless performances deepens and enriches relationships. Nodding acquaintance quickly grows into friendship, loyalty, affection and respect.

More than 30 years have passed since those days, and we no longer sing together, only seeing each other rarely at reunion events. Recently, social media has brought us back together electronically, and we discover that we hold very different political views. That reality led us to an exchange worth mentioning. One of us posted a general statement with which the other strongly disagreed. He posted a rebuttal. That in turn led to a return remark, more confrontational than the first.

Immediately one of us called a halt. “We are better than this,” he wrote. “I have too much respect for you and our friendship to be drawn into a debate.” And the terse exchanges stopped.

Affection and respect drives true friendship. In these tense political times especially, it serves us well to remember that relationships are far more important, more lasting and more nourishing that any difference in political viewpoints.

When you sing together, politics take a back seat. Joy takes over.

Today’s word: compliment or complement? We compliment someone when we say something positive about them. “That hat looks good on you.” Complement, spelled with an e instead of an i, means something that adds to , supplements or goes well with something else. The wallpaper complements the other colors in the room.

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