Now these, the singers, the heads of fathers’ houses of the Levites, were in the chambers of the temple free from other service, for they were on duty day and night. (1 Chronicles 9:33 ESV)
Another aspect of church life we enjoyed was the choir. Several directors helped guide our small numbers through the first few years. Then there was a vacuum and I was asked to pick up the baton and direct the choir. This continued for most of the next twelve years and built many bonds of fellowship, ministry and service in the church body. This was a new ministry for me. I had been in many choirs, and involved with music for years. I felt I might be successful. Little did I know the Lord was going to teach me many things about directing and keep me in this position for so long.
Take fifteen to thirty people, depending on the time of year, from five or six nationalities, most who do not speak English as their mother tongue, add some church choir music and the fun begins. One of the biggest challenges is picking music which is suitable for the church and the abilities of the choir members. My accompanist, Cindy, was excellent and would play anything I put on the piano. This helped tremendously.
Many of the choir members could not read music and some had questionable singing abilities. Each piece needed sufficient time for the choir to work through each part before bringing everything together to worship the Lord on Sunday morning. The Christmas and Easter Cantatas always brought in the most participants.
One time I had Beth sing Soprano. At this time she was singing Alto and didn’t want to move. I told her plainly, “Dear, I need at least one person in the Soprano section who can read music and pronounce the English language so it is understood.” She agreed and the resulting piece was beautiful and blessed our hearts as well as the congregation.
Working in music and the church allowed us to fellowship with others around the island from different denominations. One result was the formation of a choir for the Billy Graham Crusade.
In the 1990s Dr. Graham’s message was to be simultaneously aired, via satellite, to a multitude of locations around the globe. On Guam it would be tape delayed to compensate for the time differences. As part of the local presentation a choir was formed from the evangelical churches on the island. Many of our choir members joined and it was a blessing for all who participated. Beth and I were also privileged to participate with solos.
Several thousand people came to the field house at the University of Guam to hear the choir and Dr. Graham. For four nights the Lord brought the message of salvation through this servant to the people of Guam in an unusual and dramatic way. Hundreds came to the Lord through the messages. Beth and I participated in the counseling section of the crusade as well and were able to witness to residents who came forward in response to the invitation. What a blessing to be part of this personal, one on one, ministry of God’s saving grace.
I look forward to hearing the Heavenly Angels singing before God’s throne. Then it will be a wonder to join in the ultimate chorus to worship and praise our creator. If you have trouble holding a melody, don’t worry, the day will come, and last for eternity, when you will be able to sing with perfect pitch before the perfect God of the universe.