They pass through the congregation like a host of angels in the opening procession, then disappear into the vaulted ceiling, to the choir loft. Yes, it's the All Saints Choir, the often heard, but rarely seen, group of 30 fabulously talented singers and musicians who enhance our worship with music from the simple and austere to the intense and complex.
In the past few weeks, the choir has prepared and participated in a special musical Sunday, featuring Henry Purcell's "Bell Anthem", with a string quartet of MSU grad students. But who knows that the strings and accompanying handbell parts were scored by our own Don Hoopingarner? Don also brings the string bass up into the loft from time to time to add a bit of "woof" to things. Steve Findley and Ray Kinzel played trumpet descants. And Tamara Hicks-Syron adds violin accompaniment almost every Sunday.
Last night, the choir provided transcendent music and stellar liturgical leadership in a service of Advent choral evensong. Music to die for! In the weeks ahead, they are tackling challenging anthems for the Advent season. When they finally make it to Christmas Eve, with a full half-hour of caroling and solos and special choral music as a prelude to the 9:30 p.m. service, they will peak in a glorious moment of choral bliss and then sink back exhausted for a week until the New Year.
I am so blessed to hear this choir, week in and week out, under the faithful guidance of Michael Crouch and Sandy Consiglio (who also pitches in with oboe!). I frequently brag on them to my fellow clergy, because they sound as good as a paid choir, and they work WAY harder!
If you see any of them flying by on a Sunday morning on the way up to the loft and warm-ups, say hi. Say thank you. They totally rock!