O sing to God a new song;
Sing to God all the whole earth.
Sing and bless God’s holy name;
Proclaim the good news of salvation from day to day
This fall as we begin a new program year, these words from Psalm 96 take on new meaning for me. It probably won’t surprise you that when I think of “singing to God,” I think of choirs and congregations joining their voices together as we all “Proclaim the good news of salvation.”
Over these past few months, I have become keenly aware of the importance of choral and congregational singing. I have been reminded that singing in a group is more than the sum of its parts. There is something magical that happens when we all sing together, one voice blending with another. Think about singing your favorite carol on Christmas Eve with a full choir loft and an overflowing congregation. It really doesn’t matter if your voice cracks, croaks, or soars. When we sing together, one sound feeds off of another, and it creates a mood and feeling like no other. For me, it is truly heavenly.
I must confess that I have done my share of mourning over the fact that it will still be some time before we can experience this little bit of heaven in person here at Epiphany. But as I thought about a new program year, the words of Psalm 96 kept coming to mind. We are in fact trying to do just what the Psalmist says. We are singing new songs and we are doing that in new ways.
Here are just a few ways we will be singing new songs this fall. Choir members will be meeting on Zoom each Thursday to practice music for Sunday anthems, an Evensong, and even Lessons and Carols. Sadly, the technology doesn’t allow for us to hear each other all at once during a rehearsal, but it does make it possible for us to learn music with the help of a keyboard playing or a section leader singing. Apps on our phones and ipads make it possible to blend our voices together, and for a few times during the fall, you will be able to see whole virtual choirs made from individual video and sound recordings. Section leaders will be meeting monthly to have recording sessions in the nave of the church where they can spread themselves out over a large distance and record hymns and anthems.
There is an important role for all of you as well. I hope you will join in, whole-heartedly singing your praises from home. I have no doubt that God can hear each of us singing together from our respective homes just as well as if we were all here together at Epiphany. If singing hymns, Psalms and service music from home doesn’t seem like quite enough, I invite you to join us for a Zoom choir rehearsal. While it may feel a bit different, I can promise a warm community and new ways to “Sing and bless God’s holy name.”
Director of Music