Choir Collaboration

I haven’t written recently about my choir, but I figure the time was right because my choir was just featured in the Star Tribune.

This fall we collaborated with Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and did one service at their church and one at ours. (Sadly I missed the service at our church last Sunday because I was at home with a migraine…hence why I am in none of the pictures.) We sang three pieces together (one chosen by each director and the third jointly chosen?) Amusingly Philip chose a very gospel-ish piece, “What a Mighty God” arr. Abels featuring a FMBC soloist while Sanford chose a Rossini piece featuring one of our soloists. The third piece was a gospel-y arrangement of “Come Thou Fount.”
We met for the first time the Sunday that we sang at FMBC. I was interested that not that many of our choir members had ever seen an alter call and that some of them thought that perhaps the service we’d just been in was a praise service.
I grew up in a non-evangelical Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) in Palmer, Alaska. I went to the church camp up by Fairbanks. Then I wanted to go to the closer church camp that all my school friends went to (not PC USA). It was a very evangelical camp. Praise songs, alter call, tears, gasoline on giant piles of logs and then lighting them on fire (to make a point that is long forgotten), bible study via mail throughout the school year. That lasted two years. Then I couldn’t do it any more. It wasn’t me, I didn’t really like many of the people and so it was back to Fairbanks. But I say this all to explain that I’ve seen both sides. Most of my friends went to a contemporary church in a school gym, when I was in middle school, so I’ve seen that style of worship.
Until October, I’d never been in a self-proclaimed “Black Baptist church” before on a Sunday morning. And WOW was it powerful. It reminded me of Black Music Ensemble performances in college. There’s a certain spirituality that is innate in their service. You can feel the vibe and that is impressive to me. There was so much love and care in that congregation and choir. I’ve been singing in the choir for almost five years. I’ve sung in at least 8 different languages on probably 150 Sundays. I feel the love that my choir has for the music, for the history; how much we enjoy singing difficult two choir pieces by Schubert or obscure pieces by Giovanni Martini. But I have never heard (or felt) as much innate joy in singing as I did singing with the FMBC choir.

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