It was a joy to be in Easter vocal ensemble practice Sunday afternoon as we began working toward Easter. The high seasons of the church year are such wonderful times to sing and play instruments. As an amateur singer, former hand-bell player and occasional trombone player, I know I feel blessed to be able to offer whatever measure of musical talent that God has given me back to him in worship. I know others who are involved feel the same way. Dick Filmer, who directs our bell choir and whose musicianship we all enjoy so much, was telling me Sunday evening how he feels similarly, that what we do for services is to honor Jesus; so we should think of it not primarily as performance but primarily as worship. I know my wife, JoAnne, who leads our vocal ensemble feels the same way.
This year JoAnne has chosen a select group to work on a couple more difficult arrangements for Easter. The music will take concentrated work by some of our best readers and singers. But after our first practice, I think the results will be worth the effort. Both pieces have a quick tempo and one has a gospel sound too.
I also had the privilege of listening in on one of the numbers the hand-bell choir is preparing for Palm
Sunday. It uses a bell sound we have not heard yet that is fantastic; and it keeps the ringers busy too as it includes some two-in-hand in the top octave and some chime parts as well. The overall sound is a great offering to God of a familiar hymn tune.