Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sterling Singers

My new roommate Rebecca keeps a baby grand piano in her living room. She's trained in music performance, and when I'm lucky, I have the privilege of hearing her play and sing.

I don't yet have a video of Rebecca performing, but here's one of Rebecca's niece Nicole, also a very gifted musician. I love Nicole's dramatic flair in this little video clip:

We started taking photos, and Rebecca and Nicole were very fun models, working to perfect their puckers:

Every Sunday evening, they go to a rehearsal of the Sterling Singers, a community choir whose mission is to testify of Jesus Christ through music.

They always come home from the rehearsals happy and joyful, and so one Sunday I tagged along to observe.

I was hoping to be inconspicuous, but that didn't work out so well....the choir is too huge to fit in the choir seats on the raised stand at the front of the chapel, and so the audience (me and three other people that day) sat on the raised stand while the choir sat in the congregational seats. Although I didn't like being so conspicuous, I loved sitting on the raised stand because it gave me the opportunity to look into the faces of the singers.

At times, their faces were filled with smiles and laughter as they reacted to funny and charming things their leader, Kelly DeHaan, would say.

Other times, their faces were filled with determination, as Brother DeHaan would insist "You can do better than that!" and push them to try again.

Many times, their faces were filled with inspiration, as Brother DeHaan explained the meaning of the music and the power of the words.

"Finish then thy new creation!" Brother DeHaan quoted from the music. "Do you realize what that means?!"

"YOU are the new creation. It means that you've done all that you possibly can to be a good person and purify yourself, but that you recognize that you can't do it alone. You're pleading with Jesus Christ to help you be better than you are. You're pleading with Him to purify your heart. You're offering your soul to Him in hopes that He will be your partner in completing you, in finishing you, in making you whole!"

Here's a video clip of them singing that song after Brother DeHaan's explanation:

Other times, their faces were filled with tears. My eyes filled with tears too, as I watched a man in the choir begin to sob as they sang a song written in memory of a young child who died of cancer. I didn't take a video then, but captured a video of that song at a later performance. Here it is:

"Lord of the Small"
Praise to the Lord of the small, broken things,
Who sees the poor sparrow that cannot take wing,
Who loves the lame child, and the wretch in the street,
Who comforts their sorrow and washes their feet.

Praise to the Lord of the faint and afraid,
Who girds them with courage and lends them His aid.
He pours out His Spirit on vessels so weak
That the timid can serve and the silent can speak.

Praise to the Lord of the frail and the ill
Who heals their afflictions or carries them till
They leave this tired frame and to paradise fly
To never be sick and never to die

Praise Him, O praise Him, all ye who yet live
Who've been given so much and can so little give,
Our frail, lisping praise God will never despise
He sees His dear children through mercy filled eyes.

I loved the experience so much, I joined the choir too! I'm not a talented musician like the other choir members are, but am thrilled to have the opportunity to spend my Sunday evenings in such an uplifting way.


Paigeo said...

Absolutely everything turns out well for you -- because you're the one who decides what your attitude will be. Taking an aspect of your life that you don't consider a strength, and letting it be one of your joys -- that's genius!

Nicole said...

Cindy I absolutely love your blog! I'm going to read all your other posts, too! Oh, and this week I'm definitely going to give plasma so I can sign up to help a child in Africa--you are so inspirational!