So much more than just a choir
As a parent of an HPUMC Youth Choir member, I’ve mostly just observed from the outside looking in, watching performances, asking my son if he was enjoying it, and the basic things that a parent keeps track of on the surface level. My thoughts around HPUMC Youth Choir have always been that they are well coached, singing really good music, and I am glad my child has another activity that he enjoys. That was basically it.
But the HPUMC Youth Choir is bigger than that, and their impact is greater. I finally understand that now thanks to the blessing of being able to travel with them as a sponsor on their mission trip this summer to Florida and Disney World.
Despite our children having more access and connectivity than ever before through their phones and social media, I think we all can acknowledge the difficulty for kids to feel connected and have meaningful relationships. I know our pastors have preached to us on these very real challenges. In the five days traveling with these kids, I saw real relationships with real connection, anchored by Jesus Christ, and faith pushed along by the activity of working and singing together and then performing service and helping others.
Of course, these kids dominated Disney World and had all kinds of fun there! They laughed and went hard and wore all of the chaperones out with their energy. But the real connection came through singing together as a choir and leading an entire church in worship on Sunday morning. They did service projects that helped less fortunate people around the globe and showed good stewardship of the environment. And then, each night, they soaked in devotionals and worship as a group together.
I witnessed high school students including middle school students in conversations and hanging out. I witnessed encouragement, kindness, and respect of everyone, including adults. I witnessed my own child gaining the sort of independence and belonging that can only come through a group of peers with shared intimacy and purpose.
If I’m honest, at the end of this trip I was exhausted! We were up early and went down late and all of the laughter, adventure, and the challenges of being with 30 or so teenagers was felt, but in the greatest of ways. I was exhausted but exhilarated all at once!
The singing is first class in this group, and there’s a place for every voice of every type. The talent shows in the group as a whole. No question that this is a strong youth choir. But they are much more than that.
They are a tribe of great young men and women who are supporting each other, being supported by their church and leadership, and who are, whether they realize or not, furthering their faith in Christ.
As a parent, you want your children to be happy, to have meaningful relationships, and to grow as a person and in a faith that is their own. For any child who has even the faintest enjoyment of singing or music, this is a great place to find happiness, meaningful relationships, and growth, both as a person and with a faith that’s relevant.