What If There Was No Choir?

The choir stood and began the opening refrains to that familiar hymn, O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise. My focus began shifting away from the “To Do” list to the words on the page. By the second verse, the entire congregation had found the page and joined in song. During the fifth verse, the people faded from my awareness; I heard only voices of a “heavenly choir” thunder through the sanctuary. By the final stanza, their voices had transported me right into the throne room of God. Worries dissolved. Hope and balance returned. It was well with my soul, and my ears were ready to hear the pastor’s words.

Later, I wondered, What if there was no choir? What would we miss?

We would miss the choir reflecting heaven. When we look into our choir loft, we see a wide array of ages, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, and experiences. We see what the apostle John describes as “… a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.’’ (Revelation 7:9) We would miss what began as five people in 2011, but is now 25 strong of every age and race, leading us as one body in worshipping God.

For those of us who lean toward making a “joyful noise” more than music or who only recognize whether notes go up or down the scale, we would miss our two dozen choir members leading the way in what the song sounds like. We would miss them transforming us from spectators to participants in praising the Almighty.

We would miss the choir introducing us to a variety of worship music. Leonard Hayes, our pianist, shares that our Sunday choir has and does pull from many musical genres, such as hymns, spirituals, blue grass, modern, folk, and even African tribal. 

We would miss how our choir reinforces Sunday’s message. “There’s a sermon in every song,” said choir member Norm Beck. Director, Kathryn Zetterstrom, works weekly with the vocalists and instrumentalists to select songs that complement the sermon – songs that teach, encourage, compel, and call us to action. 

We would miss our choir ministering to us through music. “I love the hymns,” said choir member Stacy Wages. “They express in both lyrics and notes exactly what we’re feeling.” Just glance through the Methodist hymnal’s index. We find songs listed for every emotion or situation, from Calmness and Serenity to Trust and Triumph.

And lastly, for those with the gift of music, without a choir to join, they would miss the opportunity to sow into the life of PUMC with the gift God gave them. They would miss the small group community who not only ministers and sings together, but does life together.  

Thank you, choir, for using your God-given instruments to prompt and inspire us to worship. Thank you for leading us in song and for connecting our hearts to the Father’s.  Indeed, we would miss you if you weren’t there.                                          With Love, Your Church Family 

Every empty seat in the choir loft is an opportunity to serve with your gift of music. If you would like to join this growing group, contact Kathryn Zetterstrom.

Sharon Boswell