The Dr. Who Fan Orchestra

As much as I would like to, I can not live anyone's life but my own.

Anastasia Bartlett

I was doing chores the other day while listening to music, specifically modern orchestral music, like movie themes. I became intrigued as I tried to isolate various lines of music made by different instruments. It wasn’t easy, but I could pick out some major lines and the occasional ting of a triangle or bells shaking.

I realized if I could isolate the individual lines, by themselves they wouldn’t sound the same. They needed to be heard together conducted by one man. They needed to be heard synergistically, where the whole creation is greater than the sum of its parts, something well illustrated by the Doctor Who Fan orchestra.

For those of you who are not geeks, the Doctor Who fan orchestra is composed of Doctor Who fans from all over the world. The most recent composition was played by over 250 individuals, ages 11 to 69, from at least 24 different countries, all enthusiastically playing music composed for the Doctor Who show. Only they don’t play together, they play alone.

Those who want to be part of the orchestra receive the sheet music and midi files via email. They can communicate with organizers for clarification on their parts and when ready, record their part and send it in. A sound engineer combines all the submissions and the result is a majestic orchestral recording guaranteed to transport the listener to a world outside of our time and space.

From the final product, the listener would never know the musicians were not in the same room at the time of recording. The Youtube videos show the individual musicians playing their parts in this amazing online collaborative project.

I’ve wondered what it would be like to be part of such a effort. Since I don’t play an instrument, I suppose I could volunteer to ting on a triangle, or shake a few bells, or perhaps vocalize ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ah’s’.

I’ve imagined practising a part, unsure of how it’s going to fit into the overall composition. I’d count out measures and ting the triangle as required, either loudly or softly depending on the directions. I’d do the best I can and then listen to my recording wondering how that occasional ting fits into everyone else’s part. However, that’s not my concern. I’ve done my bit and now it’s the sound engineer’s job to put it all together, to create the perfect composition.

That’s how I need to live the Christian life. As a member of the body of Christ, it is my goal to be the best Christian I can be. I need to pray, to worship and to pay attention to God, both with others and on my own. I need to practise the disciplines God has given me in order to achieve my potential and, ultimately, communion with God. It is not my place to judge what anyone else is doing, or wonder why they don’t do the same things I do or even worry that they are not playing their part properly, that’s all in God’s hands.

In the the story of The Horse and His Boy, one book in the Narnia Chronicles, Aslan (the Christ figure) when asked about the injury of a young woman, replies; “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no-one any story but his own.”

As much as I would like to, I can not live anyone’s life but my own. I can not play anyone’s part but my own. I can encourage others to get closer to God and help when I can, but their part is their own and they are responsible for it…. just like in the orchestra.

In the body of Christ, every part of the body is necessary for goal of Christ to be accomplished. One part of the body may not know or understand why other parts are doing certain things, but Christ, the Head of the body, does. As long as I play my part to the best of my ability, Christ can engineer my efforts with the rest of the body and create the masterpiece He intended.

Anastasia Bartlett, an Orthodox Christian attending St.Aidans in Cranbrook