My mom always talked about how A.C. "Cheesy" Voran, founder and original director of the Centenary College Choir alway found a way to get the kids to find meaning, heart and belief in the sacred choral pieces they sang.
For me and my education in choral music, I never had a director like that and was always a little jealous when she talked about it. Someone might mention it here and there, but I never felt like it was enough. And, when you are in the education side of choral music you aren't at liberty to discuss such things. I was just glad to even be able to use sacred "historical" music. But, the focus was always on the music and the perfection of musical elements.
Maybe it is where I am now spiritually, maybe it is the music that I am singing, maybe it is the group I am singing with, maybe it is just that I had a year hiatus from singing. But, I believe a lot of it has to do with the director I am singing with now--Phillip Haworth.
Yes, our group is not large and they are all volunteers and we aren't perfect, but how he leads us is spiritually driven. It's not about Phillip. It's not about the singers. It's about God and his message though music. And that is how it should be. Too often our own egos and pride get in the way of praise to Him. It's a delicate balance.
In Isaiah 2:11,12,and 17, the Lord says three times that the prideful will be brought down . How often have we been proud of ourselves and not acknowledged from where our gifts, talents and strength comes from? In music or a work of art? On a project, event or presentation? In making that clenching sale? On a run or workout? On a written paper or test? In cleaning the house and getting the laundry done? In taking care of kids and husbands? I'm guilty.
So, my new focus is not on perfecting the musical elements, it is to sing the words with meaning in my heart. Not just in singing but in all things.
Psalms 121:1-2 "I look up to the mountains-does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth."
Here's the one that stuck out to me at Wednesday night' rehearsal. The tune is from Holst's The Planets or hymn tune THAXTED.
For we can only wonder at every gift you send,
At blessings without number and mercies without end:
For Christ your gift from heaven, from death has set us free,
And we through him are given the final victory.
Hear, O gracious Saviour, accept our love that we,
Who know your favor may serve our King.
And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,
We'll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still:
To marvel at your beauty and glory in your ways,
Make joyful duty our song of praise.