Writer Micki Carter experiences the Synod choir first-hand
My husband Mike and I have had the score for the anthem, "Let Hope Spring Forth" by Mark Hayes, for a couple of weeks, and we know how to follow instructions. Choir Director Scott Ressman, the UCC minister for worship, music and liturgical arts, emailed us to come to General Synod 27 prepared to sing.
Mike's a tenor and church choirs always need them. Altos, however, are usually a dime a dozen. But when Mike signed up online to sing in the choir, Scott replied with expected glee and tossed in a request for altos as well. So I signed up, too.
I practiced at the piano before I left and then Scott sent a computer file with the accompaniment for each section. I brought the file along to Synod and practiced in my hotel room. (To my knowledge, no one complained to the management.)
So we were ready to sing when we showed up for our only practice at 12:45 p.m. Sunday before our performance in the 3 p.m. worship service. But most of the practice wasn't for practicing notes; it was for practicing finding our spots on the risers, practicing getting up on the stage and practicing getting back down — gracefully!
The Rev. Jean Wallenfang, the stage director in the Plenary Hall, put all 150 of us through our paces. We were a little ragged but we were ready.
We gathered in our designated seats for the afternoon worship and were pretty much under the spell of the Rev. John H. Thomas's eloquence when Scott waved us to our feet and we scuttled to our marching-in spots. In five minutes, we got up, sang our hearts out and got down.
It helped that Cathedral of Hope UCC sent about 50 choir members to sing with us. They knew this anthem well since it was written in celebration of the 24th anniversary of the founding of the Dallas church. Cathedral of Hope's music director, Cathy Brown, directed us, and the church's orchestra supported us.
So Mike and I learned a new anthem to take back to the choir of the Congregational UCC of Belmont in the Northern California Nevada Conference. If they're listening in Dallas next fall, they just might hear a few strains.