The Cathedral of St. Philip - Atlanta, GA

A Note from After the Pilgrimage

Posted on by Harris Allen

Shortly after joining the choir September nearly a year ago, I was excited to hear about this pilgrimage tour. The chance it offered to sing sacred music in two of the most hallowed spaces in England would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I could and would not want to miss.  

Returning ten days ago from the solo trek across Northern England that had me staying for another week after the tour ended, and having had some time now for the afterglow to begin to marinate, I can say emphatically that the experience did not disappoint. As my reflections become more cohesive, front and center is all that singing. Just lifting my voice up as part of the gifted ensemble that is our choir was awesome in itself.  To do so for a total of fifteen services over the two-week period made for its own spiritual "deep dive"... one that I am sure will continue — if I but remain open to it — to work its magic on me as the residue of the experience jells and becomes more deeply lodged in my psyche and soul.

How to begin to make sense of it all? Many of the pieces we sang were veritable chants or suffused with chant-like qualities. It is the timeless subtlety of their harmonies and the prayerful content to which we gave voice, coupled with a rich sense of those who had come before and similarly raised their voices in these spaces, that spawned the most powerful moments for me. They cultivated a new opening, a new referent point and hunger, to which I will no doubt be returning again and again, as the new spiritual connection that I see taking shape for me continues to evolve.

This, I am coming to understand, is what it means for me to have participated in this pilgrimage. I am so grateful to Dale and the rest of the choir, and to the many in our church congregation who in one way or another supported this undertaking and enabled it to happen. May all who read this — if you have not already — have the good fortune to one day experience something comparable.  It is truly a blessed moment to be treasured.