The Return of Choir

The children are always excited about the first Sunday they get to sing after a long summer break, and yesterday was that Sunday! This year we still have only two choristers in the children’s choir (Chickadee isn’t quite ready for the kind of commitment), but both Moose and Ladybug were excited to be back, and it was nice to get a picture of the two of them wearing their new medals in the renovated sanctuary for the first time:

I recorded one of their pieces, and it was an excellent choice, because not only do you get hear the new organ playing along with the choir singing, you also get to hear the choristers playing handbells!

It’s a small group this year (only five members), but if the first Sunday was any indication, it’s still going to be a great year of music!

Church Before and After

After a year and half without the organ, and nine month of worshipping in the basement, the renovations at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis are finally complete! We were fortunate that some of the family got to be part of the special choir that sang for the service of re-dedication this morning, but before we take a look at the new worship space, let’s look back at what it used to look like:

We’ve been checking in on the renovations all along, and we even heard the children’s choir perform a recital in the not-quite-complete space last month, but there was something special about seeing it this morning!

It is the same, and yet so very different (and lovely!):

This was the perfect morning for an organ re-dedication, because it also happened to be the commemoration date for Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor. Can you think of a better day for music of all kinds? I will leave you with a few selections from the choir this morning, beginning with “Locus Iste,” which welcomed worship back to the sacred space, followed by two verses of “Stone on Living Stone,” which written for the church’s 100th anniversary a few years ago:

How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

Award on a…Thursday

For the last few years, choir awards have become a staple of Ascension Day in the Markel house. It began in 2016, when Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug earned their white surplice and first RSCM medal, and at least one child has earned an award every Ascension Day since then, right up to this year, when Moose was awarded his first medal. Ladybug, however, didn’t receive an award when Moose did, even though she had been preparing all year for a special exam, because that exam had to be given by someone outside of our local group, which was a challenge to schedule. She was finally able to be tested last month during choir camp, and was part of the first group from her choir to take and pass the test for the bronze award! She was very excited to receive her new medal and ribbon today:

She can’t wait to wear her new award when she sings, and she’s especially excited that she got it in time to wear it at RSCM camp!

Unexpected on Ascension Day

Tonight, the children’s choir sang for the last time of the season, as they do on Ascension Day. I went into the service assuming that for the first time since we joined the choir, none of our children would be receiving an award (although Ladybug is testing for a new level next month). You can imagine my surprise, then, when Moose received his very first RSCM medal…and not even he knew he was getting it! I’m so very proud of him!

Awards on Ascension Day

As has become our tradition, we attended the Divine Service for the Ascension of Our Lord at Hope Lutheran in St. Louis. The children’s choir always sings at this service, and they also receive the RSCM awards they have earned. Bunny and Ladybug both tested for the red medal, and Bunny passed with honors, and Ladybug passed with distinction! Even though he’s no longer in the children’s choir, Turkey also took the test, and like Ladybug, he also passed with distinction. Moose didn’t receive an award this year, but he’s still thrilled to be part of the choir!

Kantorei Kamp 2017

For the third summer in a row, “The Bigs” attended Kantorei Kamp at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis. It is definitely the highlight of June!

The sang for three different services at three different locations for camp. On Thursday, they assisted with chapel at Concordia Seminary St. Louis, where they sang a verse of “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word,” in addition to other pieces:

On Friday, they assisted with chapel at the LC-MS International Center, where they sang some ¬†of the pieces they had done at the Seminary, and some they hadn’t. My favorite of these was “Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart.”

Another of their pieces, “For You, O Lord, Have Delivered My Soul From Death,” is based on Psalm 116.

They also sang Cantate Domino, which they have sung in the past:

They worked on a sung version of the Choristers’ Prayer at camp, although they didn’t sing it publicly. I got to hear it while I was waiting for them to finish up one day, though!

They sang all of the pieces they did for both chapel services for the Divine Service at Hope this morning, and they also sang a verse of Hope’s 100th anniversary hymn, “As Stone on Living Stone Is Set.”

And they even got to play “Lord of All Hopefulness” on handbells!

It was a fun week for everybody, even Chickadee, who got to spend a lot of time with just me this week. And she turned into something of the camp mascot…she even got her own T-shirt!

This is the last year all four of “The Bigs” will get to participate in Kantorei Kamp, because Turkey has aged (and voice-changed) out of it. The rest of the children are already looking forward to next year’s camp, though!

Awards on Ascension Day

It’s hard to believe, but the children just wrapped another season (and Turkey’s last), of singing with the Kantorei! As was the case last year, those choristers who completed certain exams received awards. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug upgraded the light blue ribbons that accompany their medals to dark blue. Moose received the white surplice this year, which is a huge achievement for him!

The medal is the same (and I still think it looks cool!), and I really love the color of the new ribbon!

I am very proud of how hard the children have worked at singing and learning about music!

Kantorei Kamp 2016

The children had another amazing week at the Kantorei Kamp at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis! They had the opportunity to pray Matins every morning, and Responsive Prayer every afternoon. They had a lot of fun singing, as well as playing handbells and various percussion instruments. They also participated in the Music Olympics, went swimming, and sang at both Concordia Seminary and the LC-MS International Center on Friday, and at the Divine Service at Hope this morning.

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This past year of singing with Hope’s Kantorei has been such a wonderful experience for them. They’ve learned so much about music, and they’ve made some good friends. Kantorei Kamp may have just ended, but they’re already looking forward to starting their next season of singing!

Awards on Ascension Day

Tonight was the last time the children got to sing with their choir this school year. At the end of the service, awards were given out to the choristers who had completed certain tasks and tests. Turkey, Bunny, and Ladybug all earned not only the white surplice to wear over their choir robes, but also the light blue medal. (Moose has diligently attended with them all year, but declined to take the exam, which is fine…I’m just glad he enjoyed the experience and learned something along the way!)

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And a closer look at the medal, just because I think it looks really cool!

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I’m very proud of my choristers!

My Choristers

The children wrapped up their choir camp experience by singing during the Divine Service at Hope Lutheran Church in St. Louis today. I am so happy they had this experience, and I’m looking forward to hearing them sing more in the future!

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