A favorite mantra pops up in my thoughts every year as we reassemble our music ensembles after their summer hiatus. From Helen Kemp, a leader in working with Children’s Choirs and later Seniors, comes the simple phrase “Body, mind, spirit, voice: it takes the whole person to sing and rejoice!” Granted, that’s a little long for a mantra, but it helps bring me into focus that it’s the whole person that engages in bringing music, in whatever form, to life.
How many of you, when you think about singing a hymn, have the thought ‘but I don’t have a good voice’? How would that perception change if you thought about just breathing into the space around you, opening your mind and spirit to the present moment, and offering your voice in communal song? If you are more vocally confident, being aware in this way might bring you a deeper experience. Whether it’s a song of prayer or rejoicing, it’s our combined spirits that do honor to the service or worship of God. So, even if your vocal chords aren’t up to joining in, your spirit surely can participate.
During the next few months we’ll be learning a number of new, mostly unaccompanied songs. I particularly enjoy canons because they offer the freedom to sing in parts without needing music, you can do them anywhere, alone or together and anyone can start them off. We sent Matt off to “Tallis’ Canon” with words of farewell. You could also make up your own words as a table grace. We’re going to revisit “Dona nobis pacem” and learn how to sing it in Hebrew and Arabic.
Another one we’ll learn is “What Does the Lord Require of You” about justice, love, and walking humbly with God. It’s my hope that when Pastor Matt returns from his sabbatical we’ll be able to look upon him as we surround him with music that has become an intrinsic part of us.
Soli Deo gloria!
(Dr. Patricia (“Trisha”) Snyder – Director of Music Ministry)