Beginning in the fourth grade, the elementary music teacher began coming into our classroom a couple of times a week to teach us music. The first day she was there, she went to each pupil in turn and asked them to sing “America, the Beautiful.” No accompaniment, no singing in a group. Just 25 little solos. When she came to me, I started out bravely, “My country, tis of thee…” I did not get very far into the song before she said, “That’s enough.” In fact, I did not much like the way I sounded either. I could tell she wasn’t impressed.
I believe that was the last solo I every sang. My voice is not very strong, my range is limited, and without an accompaniment or a strong singer next to me, my pitch can get a bad case of wanderlust. So why, you might ask, do I sing in the choir at UCUCC? There are a host of reasons! I love music, and I love making music with other people. And yes, I love singing. In my next life, I hope to come back with a great singing voice, but meanwhile, I’ve resolved to make the best of the voice that God gave me! Besides, according to that great authority Google, singing in a choir is cheaper than therapy, healthier than drinking, and more fun than working out.
All God’s creatures got a place in the choir
Some sing low and some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on a telephone wire,
Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they’ve got.
That simple children’s song sums it up pretty well. God’s creatures sing with whatever they’ve been given.
I believe that God wants us to sing! There are lots of places in the Bible that make this clear:
Psalms 5:11: “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”
Psalms 9:2: “I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
Psalms 59:16: “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”
Sometimes, in a church of our size, the choir is a place where folks can find their niche. We have fun, friendships blossom and acceptance is generous, regardless of the quality of one’s voice. At the end of every choir practice (7-9 pm on Thursdays, in case you were wondering), we share our joys and concerns and pray together. And not only do we get to sing together, we are all constantly learning how to sing better, and how to express ourselves through music.
After practicing a piece and then singing it in service, I find that the words and the music, and the beauty of what was created, can stay with me for days. Certain phrases become delicious earworms, giving me things to ponder and wonder about throughout the week. Singing in the choir is one of the most spiritual things I do. Yes, I serve on committees and make coffee on Sunday mornings and volunteer when help is needed. But with choir, I can just surrender to the music, do my best without worrying about it, and be nurtured in spirit. And the amazing thing is, we all sing more beautifully when we sing with others. Even me!
Dr. Ian Loeppky, Music Professor at the University of North Alabama put it this way:
Singing in a choir is an absolutely unique experience.
It is one of the most important things in the world.
Where else do you have everyone doing the same thing at the same time
without the use of special equipment and for a greater purpose,
and no one is sitting on the bench.
So if you have EVER thought about joining the choir, please do! Or at least give it a try. Every once in a while, our director, Benjamin Rogers, invites one and all to a “PIck up choir” Sunday. You can just show up on Sunday morning at 9 am, learn the music, and then sing with the choir.