The gift of a new CD arrived in mid-March just as the coronavirus hit New York City full force. Businesses were closing, I was told to work from home and news reports of rising hospitalizations and deaths were frightening. I was anxious about whether grocery stores would remain open and how I would get food. And if I would have a job to go back to.
What a blessing it was that with all of that trauma swirling around me the CD I found in my mailbox was from my favorite choir, the Cape Cod-based Gloriae Dei Cantores (Singers to the Glory of God). I put “Stabat Mater, Choral Works by Arvo Part,” in my CD player and there it remained for days. When it finished I pressed play again so that the exquisite voices of the choir filled my apartment with prayer. I no longer listed to NPR. I wanted my mind to be clear. “Stabat Mater” became the sound track of my life for hours and hours day after day.
In time I changed CDs, but not choirs. The sacred choral music of Gloriae Dei Cantores has healed my spirit for probably at least two decades now. As I have many times, I turned to “Shining Like the Sun: The Chants of Transfiguration,” “The Chants of Mary,” “Prism” and the more recent “All-Night Vigil, Op. 37.”
Now, nearly four months later, New York is reopening, I’ve been back at work for six weeks, the grocery stores never closed or ran out of food and I am back to listening to NPR and WAER, my jazz station from Syracuse University. “Stabat Mater” (Richard K. Pugsley, Conductor) has joined the choir’s other CDs for now on my bookshelf. They will be there for me when I need them, just as they always have been.