My son Maxwell sang in a premier choir. When he began singing with the Maryland State Boychoir, he was a tenor, but as his voice matured, he moved into the bass section.
We are fortunate to have many of their performances on video.
A few were filmed by us, but never with a great camera. Lots of MSB parents film the Boychoir, but again, usually with not a great camera. The video and audio quality are never the strong points. Jittery camera work is pretty standard. I
regret not trying harder to record more, but I am grateful for all that
I can hear him. I can see him. And my heart, in the brilliant clarity of grief, fills in the spaces where his face is blurry.
When I am really missing him, I go for a virtual stroll, looking for new sightings of him. I find other people on facebook and youtube who have uploaded pictures or videos he's in, and then look to see if I can
find another one with Max in it.
I have become an expert on where to look for him. I can tell what year the video was filmed from what choristers are in the front row. When Max was a tenor, he was in the middle. When he became a bass, he started singing from the back corners of
the choir. Usually the far left, (stage left), but sometimes the far right. The videos we have of Boychoir performances are a trade-off. If they take in the entire choir, it's at such a distance that it is impossible to make out real details of individual singers. If the camera is close, or zoomed in, Max is off-screen somewhere to the right or left.
Last week, I found a video and I knew that Max was singing with the
choir. I recognized the singers, that they were his contemporaries. Many of them were boys who sang at his memorial.
I sat through one whole song, begging the camera to turn just a little to the left to see where I hoped
Max would be singing. I resisted the urge to skip ahead. I didn't want to miss a quick image if the camera only moved that way briefly. And it feels ... disrespectful to truncate a performance of him.
After one whole song, a second one began. The camera moved slowly to the left.
I gasped seeing Max.
There he was. Like he had walked around the corner of my home, or
stepped into my office at work.
There he was.
For just a second, there he was. Beautiful, alive, and singing.
The second passes, and I am lost in the watery embrace of mourning and memory. The camera panned back to the right, and Max was gone.
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