Working in a church is an amazing gift. I see things that the average parishioner does not see.
As a music director, I spend time with great volunteers, young and old.
If you ever want to see a person who gives their time, talent, and treasure, look up to the choir loft.
I know I am partial to musicians. I also know there are many types of volunteers, and am grateful for them all.
Below are a few of my choir loft stories for your enjoyment.
At a church I previously worked for, a group of women with the Ladies Auxiliary called themselves the "Dead Choir." Hearing them sing "How Great Thou Art" would thrill you.
Singing isn't the most endearing thing about these women. Most of them are retired and the stairwell does not shorten with age. It had two landings in the middle of all the stairs.
I stood at the top of the stairs in amazement.
The oldest members slowly climbed the stairs to sing for their lost friends. They breathlessly stopped on each landing. I asked them if they were sure they wanted to risk the stairs. There was no other place these women would rather be. You could not stop them.
We use the word sacrifice a lot these days.
These women don't even see it as a sacrifice. They see service. And I see the same footsteps Christ took on the Way of the Cross.
My children's choir recently made me just as proud.
We went to a nursing home for Christmas caroling. We sang in the dining room, we walked down the halls, and we sang for the staff in the lobby.
When we finished, one of the kids said, "Let's sing for them again."
Another said, "Let's go to Walmart and sing."
Another said, "Let's just walk home and sing to every house along the way." That's ten miles of homes or more!
It reminded me of this bible verse:
"And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matt. 25:40)
They really wanted to do God's work.
Now that we are in Ordinary Time, musicians everywhere are decompressing from Easter and beyond.
With Easter Vigil Masses to Corpus Christi processions, Easter is hard on a church choir. They give up so much quality time with their families.
I ask you all to do me a favor.
As a church employee, I usually ask for volunteers.
This time, I ask you to thank a choir member. Find one. Any or all of them. Thank them for the time they give you and God.
They work very hard to give you that gift. I also know they will appreciate it.
As for me, I thank all musicians, young and old. The church misses you when you go on vacation, and you make our time with God more enjoyable. You are truly a glorious addition to our communities.