Regardless of how one regards these acts or the sexual intent which the jury believed motivated them, there is a mountain of material left over after the verdict: issues such as music, art, interpersonal connection of the most intimate and spiritual nature, respect, discipline, growth, joy, heartache and the most profound satisfaction found only in working together through sacrifice to triumph. That triumph, which registered in the indescribable sound this choir produced, first collided, then merged with the excruciating sadness-cum-hope of Fauré's prayer for "Eternal Rest", and left me in tears. I was not alone, weeping, in that darkened audience.
We are all so small. We look for ways to "enrich" our lives, yet allow true greatness to go begging while we support those institutions that are more fun, that offer immediate and short lived excitement, that grab our attention. We totally misunderstand sacrifice without material reward, and dedication. We know nothing of spiritual committment. And the boys sang, Grant them eternal rest.
We are pitiful. We say that children need attention, discipline, something to get involved in, yes, love. Some of us, indeed, correctly notice that particularly boys often grow up without the ability to show affection, even emotion, especially with other males and most tragically with their own sons. Yet we are far too eager to draw the line, black and foreboding, far too conservatively, in effect telling at least the males who would reach out wholesomely that the risk is far too great. Let someone else make that contact. And the boys sang, Hear my prayer; to you all flesh will come; Lord have mercy.
We are contemptible. We condemn a man's life and wish him gone because a court proceeding finds that he erred feloniously during a total of three hours or so during his past life. Fine. The law is the law, however debatable. But we then unforgivably fail to look around at the nearly unbelievable good that has come to so many in the course of this lifes-work. Behind the nineteen choir boys in this concert were twelve choir alumni, "former boys" if you will, representing literally hundreds of men who, but for this choir, would never have known the joys of making music together, and, perhaps, loving each other. And the boys and men sang, 0 Lord Jesus Christ, free the dead souls from the punishment of Hell, and do not let them fall in the darkness.
We are so unworthy. Some positive force worked through those young voices to convince us that the unkempt hall, the piano substituting for an orchestra, the videotape machines struggling to record the surface events for families and news broadcasts --- all of these were really transparent and inconsequential junk which missed the point. The real worth, the choirboys told us and convinced us, was in the collective creative act wrought by about thirty people on that stage, a creative act with a wonderful and rich millennium of history that could not have existed without the giving and accepting of sincere love between boys and men. And the choirboys transported us as they sang, Let angels lead you into paradise; on your arrival, let the martyrs receive you and guide you into the Holy City.
Then, finally, the choirboys sang, . . . That you may have eternal rest, and the era was over. Almost imperceptibly, the concert formation melted into a group embrace of the man who simply had guided it all, for surely no-one really creates such love between people. These boys realized that the potential in them for singing with and caring for each other had been released by the man they might not see again. To their everlasting credit they felt no shame in showing their gratitude, and in the process gave us a visual impression and a profound human lesson no-one in the room will ever forget.
Where is the balance? The inescapable feeling for many at this little concert was that not only the boychoir tradition, but all facets of our madding society which require figurative and literal touching of young people are in serious trouble.
Where is the middle-ground? How do we liberate love from the confinement of children's world-confusion so that when the confusion clears up, the child --- especially the boy --- has the tools really to relate to his fellows, not just go through the motions? Do we have to be lenient with some people who we suspect have partially sexual motivations for their predominantly good works? Or, on the other hand, do we react decisively and, perhaps, blindly by decapitating anything that even might resemble sexual intent?
No-one in her or his right mind is advocating that adults should have their way with children, sexually or otherwise. But there must be a way to preserve the good in those who are motivated to do good things. There must be a way to avoid the slaughter and inevitable errors. caused by a black-and-white approach. There must be a way to preserve the right of every young-person to be loved --- in the true and perfect sense of the word --- and to learn how to love others. What will the boys sing now?