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One People, United in Music

08.27.18 | Music | by Amy Wainscott

One People, United in Music

    Music touches the soul in ways words cannot. In this place, where we did not speak the same language, God spoke through our choir to that place, and in that moment, the Holy Spirit made us all one people in one language.

    This summer, I went on my very first choir tour. I grew up going to summer music festivals and instrumental tours but never a choir tour and what I experienced was nothing like what I expected.

    I, along with 127 singers from the HPUMC Chancel Choir and their families, had the great privilege to travel to Milan, Sorano, Parma, Ravenna, and Venice, Italy. Because I was traveling as an HPUMC staff member, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to really look around, remember, and take in the sights of the beautiful country in which we were visiting.   

    That concern evaporated on our first day of music making. It was beautiful: 127 singers, all wearing black in the hot, Italian afternoon, trekking across Milan to sing at the Duomo at the noon Mass. Sweating with no A/C in sight, our choir, along with their patient family members, quietly waited for assignments as to where to stand or sit and when to sing. When the Mass began, the choir was ready, and music rose through the Duomo.

    I play the oboe and serve as an assistant to the choir which means I often get the opportunity to stop, step back, and absorb the sounds of the choir. It was a wonderful moment; I swelled with joy and pride watching my musical family sing together in such a beautiful and historic place. Knowing that we were giving back with the talents and blessings we’d been given by God, all while representing our church, was incredibly humbling.

    Then came our concert in Ravenna and one moment in particular that I will never forget.

    The venue in Ravenna was a 9th century Chiesa and the church of Dante - across the courtyard was his mausoleum. This concert began as the others had: hard work and a flurry of prep from our fantastic choir marshals and staff. Scott worked out the idiosyncrasies of this specific organ (they are all very different). The full choir rehearsed in no A/C and very hot environments…and then, finally, the concert began!

    Midway through the concert, the hosting Music Director came forward and shared with the audience how moved he was by the performance. He was struck by a feeling that, in that moment, we were neither Italians nor Americans, just one people united by music, worshiping God together. He told us that he felt as if he was seeing the smiles of angels who were reflecting the joy of God to friends that they had not yet met and that in that moment, the world was a safe and beautiful place.

    Hearing this man share his deep emotion in broken English was a luminous reminder of what we are here to do each day in each moment and the very reason we were on this tour: to always give glory to God with the gifts God has given us.  

    Music touches the soul in ways words cannot. In this place, where we did not speak the same language, God spoke through our choir to that place, and in that moment, the Holy Spirit made us all one people in one language.

    I’m so thankful that in that moment, I had time to look around, remember, and soak in this experience in a most beautiful place. I’m grateful that God used this experience to shake my heart, to remind me just how impactful music can be, and how it can transcend ethnicity and all other barriers.

    Hymn: When In Our Music God Is Glorified

    When in our music God is glorified,
    and adoration leaves no room for pride,
    it is as though the whole creation cried,

    How often, making music, we have found
    a new dimension in the world of sound,
    as worship moved us to a more profound

    So has the church, in liturgy and song,
    in faith and love, through centuries of wrong,
    borne witness to the truth in every tongue:

    And did not Jesus sing a Psalm that night
    when utmost evil strove against the Light?
    Then let us sing, for whom he won the fight:

    Let every instrument be tuned for praise!
    Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
    And may God give us faith to sing always:
    Hallelujah! Amen.

    Join us for a Tower Arts Concert!

    Sunday, September 9| Sanctuary | 6:00 pm
    We are pleased to welcome the famed Turtle Creek Chorale for a return performance to open this year’s season! With 38 recordings and two commercially-produced, feature-length motion picture documentaries in public distribution, The Turtle Creek Chorale is among the most recorded men's chorus in the world.  

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