Sometimes a simple “amen” says it all;

… a very upbeat and bluesy AMEN is how we finished an amazing day of growing together.
The choirs of Cadboro Bay United and Oak Bay United churches joined forces for a full day of singing and sharing.

We worked hard and challenged our voices to sing a range of styles with and without printed music. We discussed our role in music ministry and workshopped several new anthems. My thanks to our Oak Bay UC choir, my colleague Christine Chepyha and the choir of Cadboro Bay UC for their enthusiastic participation.

My most memorable learning (among many) of the day was: community is something we create together, it comes from shared experiences, trust and a desire to grow … our ministry of music can be our vehicle for building community.

10 thoughts on “Sometimes a simple “amen” says it all;

  1. It sounds like you all got a terrific start to a new season of musical worship.
    I wish I had been able to attend. My hope is that we will use this site to also share rehearsal recordings and actual service recordings as I think it can be very constructive to actually here what the choir sounds like in performance from the congregations perspective.
    I am truly looking forward to being a permanent member of the Oak Bay United Church Choir
    Thank you to Gordon, and to you all for this opportunity which is a very special blessing!
    Yours in song and faith, Jamie Hillier

  2. Thanks for leading the day. I was able only to be there in the morning, but that was great.
    It was a extraordinary gift from you two, and great to have so many from each choir attending.

  3. I really enjoyed the workshop. It was fun getting to know new people and sharing ideas and thoughts. My favorite part of the workshop was the discovery of how using your whole body through warmups and a consciousness of what and how you sing gives you a much better sound.
    The day passed quickly, and although I felt energized when I left, by the time I arrived home I was exhausted!
    Time well spent!
    Thank You!

  4. Hi Gordon,

    Thanks for much for putting on the music workshop. I thought it was great!
    I got a lot out of the explanation of carrying your voice on a straight level
    while singing upward. Also, the sight reading hints. Since I learn my music
    by ear I have difficulty with sight reading. I need to hear the music several
    times before I have it in my head. That is why I find it a real help when you
    send our anthems via e-mail with the sound of the pieces. The breathing exercises
    were also helpful!

    Looking forward to the next music workshop with anticipation!

    Merle Stewardson

  5. I have always thought that music had the ability to be many things to many people: provide comfort and encouragement; soothe and calm; excite, energize and invigorate; stimulate creativity; celebrate joy; create a community of listeners or participants or observers; nourish the soul and play on the heartstrings. Until I met people from the United Church, I had never heard of the term “music ministry”. So, after our joint workshop, I am wondering if the morning discussion that started our day has been validated through our making music together? Am I wrong to assume that “music ministry” is something separate and apart from all those things that I believe music to be?

  6. Participating in a workshop with both music directors and another church choir was both nourishing and energizing for me.

    It was`”music ministry” in that we joined our voices and became as one, and that touched the soul. How wonderful it would be if we could have more of this “oneness” amongst the churches! Imagine the joyful noise we could make!

    For me a very special moment was the communion – a true sharing of bread and wine in this community of singers.

    I look forward to the next choral occasion that we share in this way.

  7. I believe that each of us has special gifts that when shared among each other, and becomes life-giving and touches the spirit, that is a ministry. In that Gordon and Christine have shared their amazing gift of music with us and with their congregations, that certainly is a music ministry. Just as ordained clergy have a ministry, of “Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care”, and someone who practices Healing Touch, has a ministry of healing, and someone who works in the kitchen has a ministry of hospitality. And those of us who sing in a choir have a music ministry! The title “Music Minister” is just a title that perhaps sets apart the director from the choir members. But the function of a music ministry is exactly what Christine has described above.

    So I am grateful for the music ministry of Christine and Gordon, and also to the choirs of CBUC and OBUC for their music ministry. While we were working away last Saturday, the Victoria Presbytery was “retreating” in order to discern how to practice community among one another. We were already doing it!

    Blessings in your ministries
    Deborah Redman

  8. Thank you Gordon and Christine for a great day! I found it to be inspiring and challenging and a great way to build community. Sight reading is my weak point so that part was a big learning curve…one that I am embracing…slowly perhaps? 🙂

    I really enjoyed the table topics. I have come from a variety of different choir experiences with different philosophies on both of those topics so it was extremely refreshing for me to have them as “discussions” rather than something imposed on the group by the leadership. Every choir I have sung with in the past (church or community) has had a philosophy already in place and upon joining, one is “told” the way to be (ie: this is a performance choir so you must…, or this is a ministry so you can’t…). What a joy it is to be included in the discussion and to hear the diversity of ideas presented! That AND singing! What a great combination for a perfect day!

    In gratitude,

  9. Thanks Gordon and Christine for organizing this great event – I enjoyed the feeling of community and the opportunity to spend time with people from another choir. Both choirs operate in parallel worlds; we brought those worlds together and there was real synergy.

    Unfortunately I was only able to stay for the morning, but it was great to spend some time on some of the basics – breathing, technique, etc. I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity to do this.

  10. Thanks to Christine and Gordon for their inspired leadership. We are indeed fortunate to have two excellent musicians to lead our choirs. I really enjoyed the opportunity for the two choirs to workshop together. We need to do more of this!
    For me personally, I would prefer a little shorter workshop (9:30 am – 12:30 pm) would be sufficient. I find that when we volunteer time for our weekly rehearsal (2 hours) plus our Sundays (another couple of hours), I treasure my personal time on the weekends. For me, less breathing exercises and warm-up exercises at the beginning could shorten some of the time.
    However, I do appreciate the sacrifice the leaders and other members make in doing these workshops.
    Thanks again to Christine and Gordon for their input as well as to the choir members for attending.
    Doug Schiedel

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