OneVoice Blog

 

Can Choir Practice Be A Time Of Worship?

July 31st, 2013

Ever since I was a little girl I remember loving music.  I remember my grandmother singing those old hymns over and over.  I can still hear her sweet voice as if it were yesterday.  I grew up with music, especially loving 50’s music.  There is something about music that draws us in. Our culture puts a high value on music. The record industry is a 14 billion dollar business.

I never thought of choir practice as a time of worship.  I sang in my high school choir and one year on a singing team in college.  As an adult, I enjoyed singing in the church choir.  No matter what choir you are part of it is the same routine.  You are given the music to learn.  Sometimes the music is fun and many times it is difficult.  There are times where one section has to wait on another section to hit their notes. Many times you practice the same line over and over until you think the director will never move on.  As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”
Several years ago, I decided to join OneVoice Gospel Choir at Cedarville University.  I knew I would stand out in the 300 plus voices.  Why?  Because I was in my 50’s and all the others were students.  I loved music, I loved college students and so I thought why not sing with OneVoice.  You see you don’t have to try out to be part of OneVoice.  I was surprised at my first rehearsal to find there was no music.  I thought, “how do you learn a song with no music?”  I played along so everyone else thought I knew what I was doing.
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The director, Justin, had to put a choir together that blended perfectly with different music abilities.  For all I know, there could have been students with no musical ability.  God has gifted Justin in such a way that when we learned a song we sounded heavenly.  We all blended, I never heard anyone off key.
It didn’t take too many rehearsals for me to realize this was much more than a choir.  This was a time of worship.  There were times when the director had to stop and work on parts with different sections.   We learned the words as well as the music as we went.  All of a sudden not having the music in front of me and not having the words didn’t matter because it was all about worshiping our Lord.  Many times we would just stop and soak in the words we were singing because they were so powerful. They touched the deepest part of our souls.

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Two years ago, I had the unique opportunity to be part of a smaller team that traveled to Australia for five weeks.  It was an amazing experience for a gospel choir to sing in a different country.  Our music was loved wherever we performed.  We were given unique opportunities to share Christ through music. We sang in churches, a nightclub, a bookstore, a nursing home, a public mall and a girl’s school that was predominately muslim.  We were overwhelmed at the responses of all of our audiences. Once again it wasn’t just a performance, the concerts were like practice, a time of pure worship to our God.
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Thank you Justin for the time and effort you put into OneVoice.  Most of all thank you for teaching me that singing isn’t just about performing.  It is also about worship whether in practice or during a performance.
Victor Hugo said,  “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”  One Voice emulates this as we praise and worship our God.
~ Debby Stephens, www.lifejourneys.org

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