Some people wonder why “choir people” almost always are “choir people” for a lifetime. Many of us have been in a choir since childhood. I started as soon as I was old enough to be in a choir and I’ve only been without a choir family for about two years of my life since starting children’s choir. I actually feel strange if I sit in the congregation. I’m just not accustomed to seeing things from that side.
Yes, we’re singers. But we’re also choir members – which elevates being a singer to another level.
It has to do with team, family, support, and with genuine compassion and concern for perhaps 50 or 60 people that you spend time with 2 days a week for most of the year.
It’s no cliché. The choir is our family. It’s not our only family. We do have our biological ones – immediate and extended. But – for some of us – more time is spent with our choir family than with our parents and siblings. We learn and grow together. We work hard and have fun. We suffer with each other during crises, help each other through struggles and celebrate joys and achievements. We are there for each other.
Learning music and performing it well builds relationships. We’re part of a team that needs each member to be its best. We encourage each other in rehearsals, help each other through anthems in the chancel and sub for each other when we can’t make our chamber Sunday. We depend on each other every week in the chancel so we also depend on each other for love and support in life experiences.
We all know this love and support is there. I’ve experienced it from both sides. I’ve been a support person – sitting with a hospitalized friend and bringing dinners – or even favorite snacks – to friends who are recuperating. I’ve visited, entertained and prayed for fellow singers. For the first time in my life, I’ve experienced this relationship as the person in need. Choir friends brought in a line-up of amazing meals that helped us tremendously through two of my recuperation periods. They’ve simply sat with us – awaiting surgery – and prayed with us to settle our nerves and restore our faith. I’ve felt the power of their prayers and positive thoughts. I’ve enjoyed their supportive comments on Facebook and cherish their words of love and support through emails, texts, phone calls and cards. They’ve offered to transport, run errands, clean house, grocery shop and even cut the grass. Those who have had this experience come to me as sisters in the journey.
This is the kind of care, concern and compassion that you develop with those you stand beside in serving God through music and sharing talents. It’s really quite amazing.
Amazing goes much farther. I’ve been part of three choirs since coming to Charlotte in 1989. Members of each of these choirs have reached out to support me during this journey. Those I’ve not sung beside in more than twenty years are “there” with me today sending supportive thoughts and offering up prayers on my behalf.
So the next time you’re a part of the congregation. Look at the choir. Look at who they are. They’re not just people leading hymns and singing anthems that correlate to the preacher’s message. They’re a family joined together in the chancel to share their faith with you through music. And just like our choir, they are a special, special group.