Finding the Zone

All of the musical memories you shared were music to our ears. The winning voice helped us feel music’s unusual power to captivate and hold. For that, Doug Hinrichs wins this issue’s prize: an iTunes gift certificate he can use to buy whatever music is captivating his attention today.

Finding the Zone

by Doug Hinrichs ('92)

I can scarcely recall any memory from NWU that wasn’t music-related. I was obsessed with the stuff (much to the annoyance of everyone who knew me)—particularly with percussion, my principal instrument.

But I was also in the University Choir. Dr. Wyman knew how to guide the choir into transcendent performances in which we were not singing the music—the music was singing us. Throughout one concert in particular, at the American Choral Directors Association convention in Milwaukee, Wis., I was in that zone. There is truly nothing like it.

As we approached the end of one piece, “Lux Aeterna,” I left that zone, and took in on a more cerebral level my surroundings. Dr. Wyman steadied his hands as we held the song’s penultimate chord. Then somehow (somehow!) we all moved to the final chord together, even though—I swear on my life!—Dr. Wyman had not moved his hands to cue us at all. In that moment, he didn’t need to. The music owned us, controlled us and made us something infinitely greater than the sum of 50 individuals.

I’ve rarely sung since leaving Nebraska Wesleyan. My livelihood is percussion and I wouldn’t trade it. But at that moment in Milwaukee, I had a new understanding of music as a conduit between minds, a unifier of souls.