Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Singing is with you forever. . .

Today we welcome the Kapelle, the large choir of Concordia University Chicago, who are on their spring tour.  They will sing at both Lenten services (Vespers at 5 pm and Evening Prayer at 7 pm).  I can well recall more than fifty years ago when I went out on my first choir tour from St. John's College in Winfield, KS.  Indeed, every choir tour and choral group I have enjoyed over the years remain among my most cherished memories.

In an age in which sports seem to have taken over the mind and heart of America, I would suggest that few of those who play in school, summer, or traveling leagues will every find a job there or earn their income from these sports.  Enjoyable they may be but it is likely they will retain a memory and not an active participation in their favorite sport.  That is not true with singing.

Those who sing pray twice -- no matter who said it!  The choral experience will benefit every singer for the whole of their lives.  Learning to exercise your voice according to the rules of the musical staff and the baton of the conductor is among the most important and blessed talents you will ever learn.  Sadly, that is not quite the case today.  We have judged singing to be routine or unworthy of our time and instead apply to other causes what once was the joy of our hearts.

The parish I serve is often described as a singing congregation.  I suppose they are.  We have a very talented choir, cantor(s), and instrumentalists who lead the congregational song.  We have a very large pipe organ (some are always complaining that it is also too loud) to accompany this song.  But the singing assemblies I think about are the chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, and the sound of hundreds and hundreds of male voices not shy at all or the choirs of St. John's, Concordia Senior College, and the Seminary.  I well recall a choral vespers at the Senior College when then organist Joel Kuznik had every stop on the mighty Schlicker on and was working the manuals and pedal feverishly but by the chancel you could hardly hear the pipes for the sound of many voices.  Singing stays with you all your life.  You will literally never stop singing or the opportunity to sing -- especially true of Lutheran Christians!  

My advice is to make sure your sports interests do not overwhelm the love of and participation in the music of the Church -- especially for those in our universities.  Wow!  God will sing me to heaven I am sure.  How can I keep from singing?  Come to the services tonight and learn anew the joy of choral music, liturgical chant, and congregational song.  I know the Kapelle will not disappoint us!

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