The end of an era
I've been singing for a long time. The first time I was a member of a choir was when I was around 6-7 years old, and it was as a member of the children's choir 'De Lambertijnen' in Ekeren, Belgium. Not by coincidence, Ekeren is where I grew up.
However, I didn't remain a member of 'De Lambertijnen' for very long. After a year or two, I was over the maximum age for members of that choir, and "promoted" to Carmina, another children's choir of the same association. I didn't like that choir as much, though, and only remained a member for about a year or so, before I left that choir; and for a few years, choral music was no longer part of my interests.
Then, when I turned sixteen, I was in a school where choral music was part of the curriculum; and through class, I found out that singing in a choir is something I actually love. By that time I was too old to join Carmina again, so I joined the C-koren's youth choir "Cantilene" under Luc Anthonis, instead. Luc is one of Belgium's finest choir conductors, and so I remained a member until my 26th birthday—when, again, I was deemed too old to remain a member of that choir.
At this point, the next choir in line was "Con Amore", a choir that does not have an age limit, but which in practice consists of mostly people who are retired (or nearly so, at least). As a result, most people who leave Cantilene do not join Con Amore, instead ending their foray into choral music. I was no exception.
However, a year and a half (or so) later, the C-koren were extended with a new choir, "Caljenté", who jumpstarted their membership by contacting ex-Cantilene members (me amongst them), inviting them to join this new choir. I have been a member since the first official rehearsal of Caljenté, and have always enjoyed it; enough so that when I moved out of Ekeren some five years ago, into a flat in Mechelen (a 30 minute car trip away), I did not quit the choir.
I can, however, not deny that since moving out, my connection to Ekeren has become fairly strained, and that there have been times when I felt it difficult to motivate myself into driving all the way there for a rehearsal on friday night. I felt that to be unfair towards the conductor and towards the other members of the choir, and so it is with mixed feelings that I decided a month or so ago to remain a member only until the last rehearsal before the summer break this year.
That last rehearsal was today (well, technically yesterday by now); and so, after a "career" of almost 20 years of nearly uninterrupted membership (including one 5-year stint as a member of Cantilene's governing board), I am now no longer a member of the C-koren.
That's not to say I won't be singing anymore—in fact, I've already joined a different choir whose rehearsal location just happens to be right around the corner from where I live—but it does certainly feel weird to be putting an end to my C-koren membership.
Ah well, we'll see what the future brings.