Trinity's Young Choristers

One Sunday afternoon this past May, I was among the many in the cathedral to attend a special service of Choral Evensong at which graduating choristers were honored and several young boys and girls were inducted into the boys choir and the girls choir.  The remarks that Jared Johnson made to and about these young people resonated deeply with me and, I’m sure, with many others in the congregation.  Most of this article is made up of quotes taken from that address.

Jed began with these wonderful words from The Book of Common Prayer, “Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name.”  He then reminded the older choristers of a thank-you note they had received a few years ago from one of their hosts after they sang in Boston.  The thank you note ended, “Your choristers are participating in nothing less than the redemption of the world.”  What an accolade for this talented, well-trained, devoted group of young people from Trinity.  Jed went on to say to the inductees, “You are joining a choir made up of young people who are dedicated to a high purpose.  We believe that music is an elevated language for expressing our best, deepest, and most true selves... We believe that in creating music, music recreates us.  It puts us back together in the way God made us.”  

To the parents and others in the congregation he said, “If you cry during the music...don’t be sad or embarrassed.  You are feeling the fragmented pieces of your inner self being put back together in harmony, in the right proportion, the way God made them.  This is why music belongs in church, and why listening to music is one of the most holy, active things we can do.”  As I listened, I was reminded of the many times I have been transported by beautiful music which “restoreth my soul” or, as the writer of the thank you note said, brings redemption in times of grief, loss, or anxiety; and a sense of thankfulness always.

“These choristers know that their work is important. They take it seriously. They make sacrifices to attend (practices and services).  And they do the work together, as a team...The Prayer Book tells us that the redemption of the world comes about through God’s act of ‘inestimable love.’  Graduating choristers know that singing is a language of love...It’s a way we can express love of God and each other.  You have to love one another to sing well.  It’s a means of grace,” Jed said.  He went on to speak of a pilgrimage the choristers had made to sing at Wells Cathedral in England, and how they sat on the grassy lawn and marveled at the architecture and statues carved more than 800 years ago by anonymous artists who worked not for their own glory but for the glory of God.  Returning to Jed’s words, “We work hard at music because we believe, fundamentally, that it matters to God.  We sing to God.  We do not perform.  Therefore, we bring our very best to the effort...These choristers know one other special secret.  If they think back to the West front of Wells, they can remember the feeling of being a pilgrim, a person on a long journey to a sacred place, hoping for transformation...(realizing that) it’s the journey, not the destination that transforms us; and that it is a shared experience.”

They are not the only ones who are transformed by their music.  The beauty of their work reaches out to those who hear them.  Like the light through our stained-glass windows, their voices sparkle in many shades and hues, blending and soaring; and we hear old truths anew.

 

By Connie Britt