Music and the Camino

For the last two days, I’ve been listening to a CD by Oliver Schroer titled Camino, which was waiting for me when I arrived home, a gift from my friend Gene. Schroer walked the Camino during May and June of 2004, carrying his violin with him. In various churches, he stopped and played his violin, recording himself with equipment he also carried.

I’ve very much enjoyed listening to Schroer’s music both for itself and for its bringing to mind the ways music was part of my Camino. I thought of:

the children’s choir that sang at the very last Mass I attended in Spain, at a small church in Finisterre. The joyful beautiful voices of the children brought incredible life to the service. I felt that everyone in the church was engaged in a way I do not always experience at Mass.

the man I saw in the church in Astorga, who started singing a hymn in an almost empty church. His beautiful voice stopped everyone dead in their tracks. He explained that, where possible, he sings in every church he goes into, so that he can hear the sound of the church.

the sing-along at the monastery in which I stayed in Carrion. When we arrived, we were told that there was music as 6:00. Two local girls came in with their guitars and the sisters handed out sheets with lyrics of songs from multiple languages. We didn’t stop singing until a song in the language of every person there had been sung, an exercise that established a lovely sense of community.

the woman’s voice I heard as I stood in a field next to the shell of an old church. She stood at an open window singing into the building and her voice reverberated all around.

the young man from France, with his sweet singing voice, who serenaded us after dinner at the albergue in Herrerias, accompanying himself on a guitar.

and, although not with the same beauty as these others, I smile as I think of Damion and I raising our spirits during our 32 kilometer walk in pouring rain by belting out as many lines as we could remember of “Singin’ in the Rain.”

None of these will ever make it to a CD, but each of them, in their own way, enhanced my Camino experience.