Suddenly everyone went quiet. Then the lights were offf. I turned to Tomasso and said 'what are they doing? I'm afraid of the dark'. Then the low singing started from the back of the Basilica. 'Veni veni Emmanuel', my favoritte song. The glow of the candles started to appear from the procession, and the singing grew a bit louder as it passed by my pew. 'Captivum solve Israel'. Another procession of 4 started from the side door of the altar. Almost simultaneously, a third procession began from the side door of the nave. 'Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel', then the 3 single file with each person carrying a single candle, met at the altar, and slowly turned to face the audience. 'Nascetur pro te, Israel!'. A most memorable way to open the concert. What followed was heavenly. The singing went higher and higher in perfect harmony, exploding skywards as if reaching the heavens. And God and the angels above us, smiled. Now I finally understood why music could reach the skies and so powerfully transform human souls.
I never knew I would like singing a cappella. After failing for 2 years to get tickets for Chanticleer, we finally got our chance to experience singing without instrumental accompaniment. Somehow the 3 sopranos, 3 altos, 3 baritones and 3 bass male singers could produce a single voice that went beyond the necessity of a piano organ. They never faltered. Their voices complimented, accompanied, provided background and led each other. I looked at the different statues of the saints in the church, and expected them to smile at any minute. I looked at the altar to find if the face of Jesus on the cross would look more alleviated. At times I closed my eyes to enhance my auditory senses and to imagine nirvana The ambience in the small Carmel Mission Basilica provided an intimacy that reminded me of the midnight masses I've attended as a kid. It brought back nostalgic childhood memories, and almost tears to my eyes.
When it was over, I wanted more, and I dont think I would ever be satified.