Imperfect Harmony

Finding Happiness Singing with Others

By Stacy Horn
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Paperback, 9781616200411, 256pp.)

Publication Date: July 1, 2013

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2013 Indie Next List
“Listening to choral music has always been moving for me, but I never realized the profound emotions felt by the chorus members. In this delightful, charmingly self-effacing memoir, Horn explains how singing with the Choral Society of New York's Grace Church has been life affirming, even life saving. Drawing on the reflections of other singers, composers of choral music and scientific evidence, as well as her own experience, she beautifully puts into words the joy of singing with others in harmony. Any lover of choral music would love this book.”
-- Samantha Flynn, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2013 Indie Next List
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2013 Indie Next List


Why do we sing? For Stacy Horn, singing in a community choir—the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York—is the one thing in her life that never fails to take her to a transcendent place and remind her that everything good is possible. She’s not particularly religious and (she’ll be the first to point out) her voice isn’t exactly the stuff of legend, but like thousands of other amateur chorus members throughout this country and the world, singing  with other people makes her happy. As Horn relates her funny and profound experiences as a choir member, she treats us to an eclectic history of group singing and the music that moves us, whether we’re hearing it for the first time or the hundredth; the dramatic stories of conductors and composers; and discoveries from the new science of singing, including the remarkable physical benefits of song. Life can be hard, battles continue to rage all around us, and by midlife most of us have had our share of disappointments. Here is the unexpected story of one woman who nevertheless has found joy and strength in the weekly ritual of singing some of the greatest music humanity has ever produced.

Praise For Imperfect Harmony

“Horn eloquently traces the evolution of ensemble singing . . . She writes movingly about how singing about death and simply breathing together bring a transcendent feeling of harmonious belonging.”—Publishers Weekly

“Horn's experiences in the Choral Society of Grace Church are vividly brought to life in her book. I often felt that I was right there in the room, in the choir, having the very same experiences. She seamlessly and naturally interlaces music history with her stories. Before I knew it, I realized I'd just read pages of - gasp! – music history, and didn't find one bit of it dry. I couldn't stop turning the pages. I wish my own college music history texts had been as captivating.”—A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall

“The joyful journey of one woman's life through song . . . . With wit and honesty, Horn opens the doors to a world nonsingers rarely see or hear . . . Even those unable to carry a tune will find that Horn's prose hits a high note.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Even if the only singing readers do is in their car, Horn’s story of finding happiness in choral harmony will leave them applauding for the encore.”—Library Journal

“Accessible and infectious . . . This is not only for readers with an interest in choral singing, but also anyone who has enjoyed creative endeavors, either as artists or consumers. Horn beautifully captures the magnificent feeling of joining oneself to something larger, becoming something greater in harmony with others than solo. Like her beloved soprano notes, Horn’s love of making music soars through her book.”—Booklist

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