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Changes in music ministry

by Jesse Ratcliffe

At the beginning of May, a digital conference organized by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) announced that choral and congregational singing as one of the most aggressive forms of spreading COVID-19. As I juggle the emotions of a 1450 mile move and leading a new music program, this layer of the pandemic has been difficult to grasp. Despite this negativity, the support of the clergy, staff, and congregation of Heavenly Rest has provided me an abundance of hope. As we settle into the summer months, I look forward to making music through new mediums.

The adult choir of Heavenly Rest have joined the ranks of many choirs across the to present a “virtual choir”. Their first video was broadcast on Pentecost Sunday--a heartfelt thanks goes out to Jonathon Camp for polishing-up the video for us! The choir is working on a second video for mid-July.

Since singing is off-limits for the time being, the handbell choir will use their gifts to fill the gaps of choral music. Utilizing a small ensemble of four to six, the ringers will present socially-distanced handbell music for July 19.

As a means of connecting with each other and growing musicianship, the Heavenly Rest music program will offer once-a-week sessions to teach music literacy and music history to the members of the adult vocal and bell choirs. Participants will engage in a short lecture and history lesson utilizing Zoom.

I am overjoyed to have the help of Susie Rockett and Shelly Reed as we plan musical activities for the youth musicians in our parish. In July, the choristers and ringers will receive packets of activities to stay engaged with our church music program and continue their musical and liturgical education.

My favorite Romantic-era composer is Felix Mendelssohn—regardless of genre, his works have spoken to me since I was in high school. In this time of uncertainty, I hope that you may find some inspiration his adaption of a quote Martin Luther, Grant Us Thy Peace.

Grant us Thy peace Almighty Lord, Thou Source of ev’ry Blessing.

Feeble and frail, Trust we Thy Word, All things in Thee possessing.

In Thee is our Hope and safety.

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