My choral experience in Chautauqua

When I attended the first Morning Worship service at the Amphitheater, I heard the Chautauqua Choir perform and knew I wanted to participate at least once this summer.

The stars aligned last week and I knew it was my chance to sing with the 140-member group. The reason why I hadn't sung in the choir earlier in the season is, in part, because these people put in a large chunk of time into this group. Two out of three rehearsals are a requisite for singing on Sundays. Each rehearsal lasts from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m., every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I work on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings so it can be hard to get away for rehearsal and performance.

I decided, with the approval of my editor, to sing the choir. I attended all three rehearsals so that I would, quite literally, never miss a note. I was the youngest in the choir — in fact one of the only people under 30. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy myself.

It brought me back to singing with the choir at St. Stephen's in Toledo, Ohio. The warm hearts, kind faces and mellifluous music-making brought me back to my childhood. Looking up at my grandparents sing in church, there was purpose and a community of singers. A choir with a purpose. Praising with God-given talent.

And that's what I did on Sunday. Under the direction of the incomparable Jared Jacobsen, director of the choir and organist, we sang "The Testament of Freedom" with words by Thomas Jefferson and "Come Let Us Sing a Song of Joy" by Giovanni Gabrieli. This was a light menu for breakfast.

In the evening, we sang more during the Sacred Song Service. My favorite was "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," arranged by Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I also enjoyed singing a cappella "There Is a Balm in Gilead," linking arms and swaying with my neighbor.

It was a wonderful day of singing — and designing at the Daily. When I got home, suffice it to say I slept very well after four days of singing and interning.

Photos courtesy the Daily's Jordan Schnee


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