By Barb Mazarakos
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Even those among us who can’t carry a tune in a bucket can feel the worth of good music all the way through to our soul. Some songs make us tap our toes while others bring a tear to our eyes. Still others can bring back a memory so strong and so clear, you can “see” it as if it were yesterday even if decades have since passed. Here at Christ Lutheran Church, Music Director Sandra Knopp (who can be reached at (708) 349-0431, extension 227) has opened up a number of musical opportunities which have added to our worship services.
Some of these opportunities are seasonal, such as the timpani that rings out on Easter morning or the beautiful music that accompanies services during Advent and Lent. Others we rely on each week in addition to congregational hymns to add to our worship experience. For those who like a little contemporary pep in their music there is Joy and Praise Ensemble. “J&P”, as it is affectionately known, sings one Sunday a month at all three services and practices the Thursday prior from 7-9pm. Those who prefer more traditional music may want to check out the Christ Choir, which is available to all post-Confirmation aged musicians, at their practices on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:15pm beginning September 14.
Of course nothing makes the congregation smile as loudly as when the children sing (sorry, Men’s Chorus! We still enjoy your singing, and hope new interested members will join you at your first practice September 20 at 7pm!) Children as young as Kindergarten can let their voices sing out to the Lord and bring smiles to the face of all who hear them. Our Cherub Choir is available for those from Kindergarten through 4th grade, while young adults in 5th-8th grade can participate in the Youth Choir. They both practice on Wednesdays at 5 (Cherub Choir) and 6pm (Youth Choir). If your child likes to hum or sing along to their VBS music in the car, what better way to teach them early on how to serve the Lord than by using their voice?
There are many other musical programs which help make our worship a full sensory experience each week: Handbells, Junior Chimers, and the Youth Orchestra are all instrumental (pun intended!) to our church each week. All of these programs are under the direction of Sandra Knopp and her volunteers, and they always have room for one more. And if you are inclined to think, “I don’t know how to sing,” let me leave you with these words from Garrison Keillor’s “Singing With the Lutherans” :
“Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It’s a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person’s rib cage. It’s natural for Lutherans to sing in harmony. We’re too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you’re singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it’s an emotionally fulfilling moment.”
See, friends? You were born to do this! Break out of your shower singing and meet us for practice. Sing your praises like you belt out Elvis (or Bieber)- loud and proud. We’ll see you Sunday morning.