Each month, we’ll follow Ward member, Cindy Ziemba, on her adventures around the (volunteer) globe. Did you know there are over 100 unique roles filled by volunteers each month? Cindy will share the good, the surprising, the challenging…the authentic experience behind a wide range of volunteer roles at Ward Church, all serving to connect people to God!
“What I wish our religion had,” a young middle-eastern mom recently told me, “is music. We have no songs in our religion like you do.”
I couldn’t help but think of her as I stepped into the choir for my most recent volunteer experience. Just as there have been Scripture verses that speak life into my soul, songs of faith have carried me through struggles and helped me express my love for God, and I’m grateful for the strong music ministries of Ward.
I recruited Mark, my husband, to join me on this adventure, since he has been in a number of choirs. Our experience began with rehearsal on Wednesday evening, where we filled our folders with a detailed schedule of Sunday’s service and about nine pieces of music. We were warmly welcomed in to our respective vocal sections.
It was a very efficient rehearsal, with a lot to cover in just over one hour. John Beresford, Director of Classic Worship, rehearsed not only the choir but the orchestra that evening. The level of skill in both the vocal and orchestra groups was noteworthy – I felt especially challenged since I haven’t sight read music in quite a while. John was great at reviewing the spots that were rough, but truly has the gift of encouragement: “Sing it like that on Sunday and the congregation will all cry.” It was also evident that the choir is a lovely community who care and pray for each other.
Long-time choir members say the songs rotate back in enough that they know a core repertoire. Mark and I felt like we needed more help and were grateful to bring the music home and work on it between Wednesday and Sunday.
Choir met on Sunday morning at 8:45 in the sanctuary for warm up before singing in both of the Classic worship services. We figured out seat assignments and exited to the choir room for prep and warm banter before services began.
I wondered how it would be to be ‘in front’ during services, and didn’t want to stand or sit at the wrong times. But those moments were very intuitive, and having a group around you standing and sitting at the correct times certainly helps. The congregation is far enough away that I didn’t feel uncomfortably in the spotlight, although I’ve been surprised at the number of people who noticed we were in choir. It was a special thrill to sing with orchestra playing – there are not many choirs where you have that experience.
The two services went by quickly, and our comfort level grew. To be up in front hearing the congregation sing is touching. Joining together in music, some of which reaches back over generations, truly is a precious element of our Christian faith.
Mark and I can’t help but believe that there are many sitting in the congregation with singing experience and who know the joy of singing in a choir, and if you’re one of those – we’d encourage you to sit in choir for a week. John has monthly “All-Sing” weeks just for that opportunity – February 13 & 17, and March 13 & 17 are the next two. You can sign up for All-Sing at ward.church/serve under the Music ministry section, or email John.Beresford@ward.church.
Questions for Cindy about finding your spot on one of the many serve teams? Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org