Filing, Sorting, and Relaxing

For various reasons, one of the choirs I sing with has been inundated with unfiled music. These are pieces we’ve done but that didn’t get pulled out of folders and put back in the archives, or music that we’d planned to sing but had our plans changed,* or pieces that individual musicians checked out of the library and returned but that didn’t get sorted out of the “General Turn In” stack. Said stack was starting to rival the Empire State Building in height. Since I didn’t want our director, or our secretary, to end up pulling out their remaining hair or being flattened by a cascade of crescendos**, I offered to sort the stack and pull what isn’t needed at the moment from the Boxes O’ Bach. I’m not sure I’d finished the sentence before the secretary informed me that I was welcome to attack the Augean Mound.

I had the office/library all to myself. Just me, a multi-colored mass of sheet music, and some of the containment vessels, er, storage boxes. My task was to sort the music, put it in number order, and slip it into the boxes. I cleared a long flat space and started by color. Pink one here, pale blue here, darker blue with star, dark blue without star, white with big letters, white with small letters, Oxford University Press music division . . . Then I went back and forth, back and forth, just stacking the scores by title. For the first while I listened to music*** since I didn’t need to pay 1000% attention, just go by color and make sure all the nooks, crannies, and cubby holes had been emptied.

Then I attacked each pile and put them in number order. Some numbers were missing, but the secretary will go through and account for those (director, accompanist, other accompanist, sound-tech for mike cues . . .). It took several hours of steady work, with a few water and stretch breaks, but I got everything done.

Time flew. I wasn’t analyzing anything. I wasn’t worried about finishing by X time, or meeting a certain standard. Sort, organize, and pack. A heap of chaos turned into ten tidy boxes, plus a few random odds and ends of solo music or older compositions that got slipped into the mound but not reported. Those went into a basket on the secretary’s desk.

Sometimes, a simple, repetitive task is just what a person needs. I accomplished something, used my hands and not my brain, cleaned up a mess, and had 0 pressure. I wouldn’t want to do it every day for years, but I think I needed a productive physical job. I could see progress and knew I’d accomplished something useful. There’s satisfaction in a mess cleaned and a workload eased.

*When the string section music is ordered in May, the concert is in early December, and the rental place says they’ll ship in late January . . .

** Think of Shel Silverstein’s poem about “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout.” But not as much of a public health crisis.

*** I had no expectations about the album. It turned out to be a good album. Snowglobe by Erasure.


8 thoughts on “Filing, Sorting, and Relaxing

    • Same thought, for a section of garden at a time: weed, add to compost heap, place new compost or mulch as needed. Pray and listen to birds.

  1. LOL, I remember that poem from Playboy many years ago… And productive repetitive work IS good for the soul. It allows the mind to go off on its own and just relax.

  2. No pizza, alas! But we had fun and got it done.

    We also found sheet music that hadn’t seen the light of day since the 1940’s… so there’s a help to the budget.

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