(Yes, this is a bit of a commercial.) Auditions are underway for one of my very favorite things: the First Choristers are a growing group of auditioned singers, from grade 4 through grade 8, who commit to a weekly rehearsal, and then sing alongside adults in concert. The music they sing is not “children’s choir” music, but full-blown choral music – providing the soprano part for the great works of music we prepare for the December Lessons and Carols Festival at church and, next year, a new Spring concert event. The benefits of this rehearsal and performance time are huge: Along with the music itself, kids get the opportunity to learn how to work together as a team, basics of choral singing and music reading, and how music is such a critical part of our spiritual self. I’m excited that we already have a number of new children auditioning for this fall season.
In addition to the children’s aspect of our programs, we have offered adults an opportunity to sing with the choir for these special events. Over the past two years, we have built a core of singers from outside the church membership that have joined with us for Lessons and Carols. Once again, our upcoming events are open to anyone Grade 9 through adults, by audition. Teamwork, commitment, and glorious music sung in praise are all hallmarks of singing for these concerts, and any choir member can tell you that the fun and community we share in our rehearsal time is something you’ll find you can’t live without! Detailed info can be found at www.musicatfirst.org.
Yesterday we celebrated the end of a truly great choir season at church with a party at the home of two beloved choir members. The choir is “family” in so many different ways. In fact, in some cases we see each other more than our “real” extended family, and share in more of life’s ups and downs than even the closest in our lives. We get to make music together, which requires great trust in each other. Music is not just a technical thing, but emotional as well, so we also need to feel safe in sharing that in a group setting. When it works (and in this choir it does!), the result is an amazing group of people, first, and the secondary benefit of awesome music-making.
So, it is with some sadness that we take a break for the summer. It’s like we’re taking an extended vacation: Yes, it’s fun and necessary, but I’ll sure be glad to be back “home” in the fall!
Last evening’s bell choir rehearsal at church was a great success. This group is challenging, yet a lot of fun and very rewarding. With just six ringers (including myself), the challenge is to make full-sounding music with a small team. We also have a wide range of abilities in the group. It has been a treat for me to train some brand-new, younger ringers, who are learning very quickly how to make great music.
Being a regular ringer as well as director has presented a new and unique challenge for me; I’ve enjoyed learning new techniques like ringing “four-in-hand” (Tricky! Two bells in each hand need to ring independently of each other, so one goes sideways and the other goes frontways – it makes my brain hurt sometimes!).
Bell Choir has become one of my favorite music groups because of the teamwork involved. We have a common goal of making the music sound wonderful, and the common goal above that of bringing praise to God and inspiring others with that music. Attaining that goal in worship requires each person to be present for rehearsals (else their notes in the scale do not get played at all), listen to each other so that the notes match each other when playing a melody, watch and respond to the director so that a tempo is maintained and beautiful “moments” of dynamic or phrasing can happen. It is a lot to count on, and I’m impressed every time with how well they do it.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with such a committed and talented group, and for the inspiration they provide. They ring in worship next on Sunday, June 13.