This past summer I joined the choir at my church. Summer Church Choir is slightly more relaxed than regular-time choir and it is a good time to try it out and see if being in the choir is something you want to do. Or if you just want to be in summer church choir. No auditions, you just show up (and/or inform the Choirmaster). I love the openness of that.
In my youth I was part of several choirs. I stumbled into singing, really. In 5th grade I decided I wanted to play the flute so I joined the elementary school band. After a year I decided maybe band wasn’t right for me (although we did play the Star Wars Theme which was tooootally cool). The same guy who conducted elementary and middle school bands was also the music director for the middle school. I’m not sure if it was a mix up in paperwork or what happened but when they were calling out assignments for middle school (choir kids didn’t rotate through the “elective” hour like the other kids) I somehow got on the list for choir. The other kids were like, “What are YOU doing here?! You didn’t even try out!” and sent me back (me? scarred for life by this? noooo), but the choir director was adamant that yes, I was to be in choir and to go back and sit where I was supposed to. Well, okay then.
From then on I grew to love choir. I sang in the school choir, joined my church choir (the organist called me Frances for a long time… I never really figured out why), joined my high school choir for a bit, and even sang in a Vocal Consort group directed by some lady from the local college.
Recent studies have shown that joining a choir has several health benefits. But it’s not the health benefits that spurred me to join the choir this summer and to continue coming this fall. It’s the community.
See, in the choir room there are little cubby holes where you keep your music and notebook. You are assigned a cubby hole with a number. I have no idea who I inherited my cubby hole and folder from, but s/he left me a tin box of mints, an empty, worn envelope, a pencil case with a worn out pencil, and beautiful music. It reminds me every time I pick up that notebook that I am part of an ever-evolving community and, like my beautiful tradition, it goes back a long time.
I graduated from the Education for Ministry course earlier this year and so I have felt like I am missing that tight knit community, committed to meeting each week to grow and learn and serve one another. Sometimes you have to move on from comfortable communities and find new ones and I have really enjoyed becoming a member of the choir. It brings back wonderful memories of singing when I was younger and I come away with beautiful music stuck in my head for weeks, not to mention a big smile and a warm heart.
Sometimes it’s hard to move on, to grow up and change out of your comfort zone. I know it’s hard for me. I’m a creature of comforts and habits, and when I’m thrown out of those I am “off” for weeks. But these little shake ups are important–they remind us that God is everywhere, not just in our little groups, and he must be sought.
So if you need me on Wednesday nights, I’ll be in the sanctuary with the rest of the choir, warming up with na na na’s and ba ba ba’s, laughing at jokes from the choirmaster, talking with new friends, and joining my voice with beloved singers to create beautiful worship music.
Oh and this Sunday? We get to sound like birds, y’all. SQUEE!