As long as we live, there is never enough singing.
One of the gifts of returning to in-person worship has been the return of the choir in our sanctuary. I grew up in a singing congregation, with children, youth, men’s, and chancel choirs. We were a singing bunch! The congregation in Centralia, Illinois, had two morning worship services. The chancel choir sang in the second service, and there was no special music in the first service held at 8:15am. Imagine then how important music was to our high school youth group, that for two years on our own we organized and offered special music for that early service—teenagers practicing during the week and then getting up early on Sunday mornings to sing!
Research on choral music groups suggests that singing together has positive impacts on an individual, finding improvements in mood, reduced stress and anxiety, and greater subjective well-being. While the exact connections between choral singing and individual well-being are not known, I do know that the experience of creating music together with others is an exhilarating one. Something amazing happens when disparate voices come together, listening to one another, balancing and blending together, making wonderful harmonies. Drop by the sanctuary on Wednesday evenings and you will find our choir practicing with intention and with a healthy dose of good humor. Yes, laughter is an integral part of our rehearsals!
As our choirs heads into their final weeks before summer break, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to all of the wonderful musicians who have brought their gifts to our worship. Our music director, Genny Jenkins, is a vibrant and passionate leader, who brings out the best in singers and musicians. Our musical interns from MSU have been such a joy to work with. A huge shout-out and thank you to Caleb Fouts, Anna Grayson, Maura McCoy, Everett Quiggins, and Katie Webb. We’ve been blessed by their musical talents and by their active participation in our congregational life.
And I want to offer a word of thanks to our keyboardist Isaiah Florence. He has such a beautiful style of playing the piano, and if you’re in the sanctuary before worship you may have heard his jazz improvisations, too. While church music is a new area for him, we are grateful for his talents. I’m also so very grateful for our congregational members who make up our chancel choir and our bell choir. It’s an act of love and dedication to attend weekly rehearsals and to offer musical leadership in worship on Sundays—I hope you’ll join me in offering your word of thanks to members of our choirs.
A native of Illinois, Rev. Nancy Gowler lived for 26 years in the Pacific Northwest. She joined the ministry of First Christian Church in Morehead, KY, in July of 2020.