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Copyright 1978 Maranatha! Music, admin. by The Copyright Co.

Copyright 1978 Maranatha! Music, admin. by The Copyright Co.

Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord
And He shall lift you up, higher and higher,
And He shall lift you up.

Sources:
Celebration Hymnal  #622
Renew!  #188
Sing the Faith  #2131
Sing with Me  #201
Singing the New Testament  #230
The Faith We Sing  #2131
(as listed at Hymnary.org)

Background

Today was Kickoff Sunday at our church.  Some churches call it Homecoming Sunday, and there are many variations on the theme.  The designation denotes the first Sunday after Labor Day weekend, the beginning of school, the opening of church school, and the return of the choir.

Our “traditional” service began 1/2 hour earlier for the first time, which also moved choir rehearsal to 8:30 from 9:00.

Good morning!

When I arrived at 7:30 to practice, the chairs (a new experiment in lieu of pews) were in place for the parishioners.  The location of the choir was left for us to take care of.

The six people who sang today all arrived at 8:30!  Because of the earlier time, that could have presented a problem.

We welcomed Joyce, a new member who is trying out a new experience.

Logistics

We discussed where everyone would feel comfortable, moved a few chairs, moved the piano so we could all see each other, and had a terrific rehearsal!

The choir wanted to face the congregation throughout the service in order to lead the singing.  I couldn’t agree more!  Finding seats among the parishioners and then walking to the front for the anthem would have disrupted the flow of the service. 

Pam, a choir member, had suggested earlier in the week that we could spend less time rehearsing the hymns and more time looking ahead to the following week’s anthem.  She made a good point.  So today we warmed up on the sung response to a congregational reading.  That only took a minute or two, a good use of our time, as the congregation needed our leadership with the unfamiliar music.

The anthem

Our anthem was perfect for the offertory.  Written like a round, the choir sang the melody.  Sue, a soprano in the choir, handled the descant (essentially the 2nd entrance in the round) beautifully.

I came across this engaging piece while browsing through “The Faith We Sing,” an alternative to the standard hymnal.  Although I didn’t know it, I fell in love with it right away.  I was so happy when the choir had the same experience!

The congregation had a wonderful reaction to the choir’s singing today.

This piece, which can be done in many different ways, turned out to be a great way to begin the new season.  Any number of singers would be appropriate, the placement of the singers for the two parts of the round could be flexible, the number of repeats could be changed during the singing with no problem, and the keyboard part could either be played or omitted.

Compliments to the choir!

I am so proud of my little choir for their enthusiasm, wonderful suggestions, cooperation, and willingness to show up early!  The spirit of collaboration is wonderful, allowing everyone to feel a sense of ownership.

What’s next?

I can’t wait for next week!  We will be singing “Lead Me, Guide Me,” by Doris Akers, followed by “Over My Head,” an African-American spiritual arr. by John Bell, the next week.  “Over My Head” was suggested by a choir member last Spring. Thanks, Carolyn!

Bethel A.M.E. Church in Kirksville, Missouri, where Doris Akers first learned to sing and play Gospel music. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bethel A.M.E. Church in Kirksville, Missouri, where Doris Akers first learned to sing and play Gospel music. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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