My, my…how painful it is to be apart on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings! The purpose of this post is provide a place for the  members of the Lititz Moravian Senior Choir to connect with each other and, perhaps, receive some relief from the struggles associated with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. First, some recordings of favorite selections we’ve sung in the past are offered that are especially appropriate. Please sing along in confidence that we will be back together again soon to make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Please comment on this post below (or email me) with suggestions for additional repertoire to include. I will also search for more of our own recordings as possible!

We are also planning other ways for us to connect with each other more directly and in real time. For example, we are considering a regular (weekly?) online hymn-sing or (as suggested further down this post by Katie Grisbacher), a collaborative learning of a contemporary Gospel piece (“He’s Everything”) made popular by Dolly Parton and Queen LaTifah! I’ve embedded a performance of the piece below, along with the teaching strategy offered by Katie. We really need your feedback regarding this possible project either via email or a direct “public comment” to this post below.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy one and all — trust you are following all the recommended protocols — and I await that joyful day when we shall return to sing praise together to our Loving Lamb Who Has Conquered.

Charlie Best sent me the following hymn text yesterday, which can be sung to BEACH SPRING (MBW 688, “Lord, Whose Love in Humble Service”) or NETTLETON (MBW 782, “Come, Thou Fount of Ev’ry Blessing”)

When we face an unknown future that we can’t imagine yet,
when the closeness we have treasured turns from blessing into threat—
As we miss our friends and loved ones, as we crave community,
may we look, God, in this season, for a whole new way to be.

Jesus faced the lonely desert as a time to look within.
There he met such trial and conflict; there he knew you were with him.
In this time of separation when we miss the life we’ve known,
may we hear your voice proclaiming: “I am here! You’re not alone.”

May we cherish those around us as we never have before.
May we think much less of profit; may we learn what matters more.
May we hear our neighbors’ suffering; may we see our neighbors’ pain.
May we learn new ways of offering life and health and hope again.

God, when illness comes to threaten, and when so much here goes wrong,
may we know this thing for certain— that your love is sure and strong.
You’re beside us in our suffering, and when times are surely tough,
we may face an unknown future, but it’s filled, Lord, with your love.

Text: Copyright © 2020 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: New Hymns: Churches are given permission for free use of this hymn, including in live streaming and posting it online.

Warner, Massah: “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven”

Herbst, Johannes: “They Made a Crown of Thorns for Him”

Gilkyson, Eliza: “Requiem” (choral)

Gilkyson, Eliza: “Requiem” (original)

Vaughan Williams, Ralph: “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis”

Miles, C. Austin: “In the Garden”

Parton, Dolly: “He’s Everything (Make a Joyful Noise)”

Here’s Katie’s Idea:

“I purchased the sheet music several years ago (40 copies) in hopes that you or I could teach it to the choir. I propose we create a remote learning opportunity! Strategy:

  1. I sneak into the Choir Room to pick up the music (wearing gloves, covering my tracks sanitizer)
  2. We enlist a team for ding dong ditch delivery at choir member homes.
  3. You and Gretchen and I split up parts and make short videos teaching the music. A mix of playing the part on piano, singing the parking, and zeroing in on challenging sections.
  4. Choir members have a great time learning, listening, and preparing for the day we can come together to rehearse in person.

I think the choir would love it, and if it gives us a way to work together during these strange circumstances”

Please, please, please: let me know your thoughts on this activity and feel free to offer any other ideas of how we can make music together as we must be apart!!