This year in music ministry began in a relaxed mood.  Easter was later this year, April 20th, there was time to learn lots of music as well as the music for Holy Week and Easter.  Then it SNOWED every other Wednesday in February!!!  We rose to the occasion and survived in a grand fashion.   Several anthems were taken off the table, literally taken off the table and returned to the file cabinet, but the necessary music was rehearsed and presented in a beautiful manner.  The Sanctuary Choir is amazing.

In January for Epiphany we presented many different settings of “The Cupboard’s Full”  by Tim Coons.  The song was presented by Ron and Terry, the Older Children and Youth Group and by the entire Sanctuary Choir in an arrangement by Ryan Corbitt.  The worship service included communion each Sunday so that each service also included communion songs.  The Karen, Chin, Lisu and Kachin choirs also contributed to the music of worship.

The Sanctuary Choir welcomed several new members during this year.  We were excited to have Paul and Lugene Fernald and Renee Grinnell singing with us in January, Faith John, Charity Roberson and Renee’s brother Graham Grinell joined us later in the year..  They are great additions to our group.  The Sanctuary Choir is almost out of robes, but there is room still for anyone who wants to join us!

The Lenten season was centered on the theme of the cross. The décor included a large cross that was covered with newsprint and two 20 Ft. banners that were covered with pictures of crosses found in unexpected places and backed with newsprint.  Hymns and anthems about the cross of Jesus were sung throughout the season.  The emphasis was on looking for where Jesus could be found in the world as we moved into new places in our lives. Entering Holy Week the Older Children’s Choir, the Youth Choir and the Sanctuary Choir sang the anthem for Palm Sunday and the Younger Children’s Choir also presented two selections.   The Maundy Thursday Service was held in the Sanctuary around tables and included food, questions and foot and hand washing.   Nathan Hatfield, Megan Strollo and Denise Walters sang for the service.  The Good Friday Service consisted of a performance of “Remember Me” by Taylor Davis.  Alan Miller and Ryan Corbitt accompanied the Sanctuary Choir.   Sanctuary Choir and the Ladies of the Choir provided the music for Easter Sunday.  The Easter Service ended with the singing of “Low in the Grave He Lay” by the different communities that worship together here at Tabernacle.

In the month of May the Children’s Choir became a bell choir.  The children’s singing choir became a Bell Choir.  We met though the month of May and shared our music with the congregation on June 1.  The children learned a great deal about bells and playing bells in a short period of time.  Special thanks are due Lugene Fernald, Laura Jones and Laura Severns for their excellent teaching and patience.  Several people continued to ring into the month of June.

The Sanctuary Choir sang though the 8th of June to cover Pentecost Sunday.  This year several of them wanted to continue singing into the summer and formed the “We Sing What We Want” Ensemble!!  They collected several anthems that are favorites of members of the group and rehearsed them and shared these favorites with the congregation.   We had a great time singing and sharing some of the old favorites from the past. .  Sharing the stories of how we came to love the anthems we chose to share allowed the choir members to get to know one another on a deeper level.  Many thanks are due to Ron Simmons and Terry Witt for encouraging this choir—all I had to do was play! It was good fun.  In June we also had a brief sighting of a Hand Bell group, but summer travels soon got in the way.   We did manage to play for church once.

Pentecost was particularly exciting this year as we filled the sanctuary with red, yellow and orange 12” balloons and origami doves.  The children released helium filled balloons into the sanctuary during the processional.  There was a celebration in our wonderful sanctuary.

On June 17th we held the first of what we hope will be many Open Mic Nights in the Tabernacle Fellowship Hall.  About 12 people performed their songs and then the Meadow Street Band closed out the evening.  It was a great time of fellowship and celebration of talents!  The second of these events was on August 18 at 7:00-9:00 PM in the Fellowship Hall.  We shared original songs, magic tricks, stories, poems, piano solos and lots of Broadway songs.  It was great fun to discover people’s talents.  Do you know we have a member who is a dulcimer player?  Ron, Terry and Susan Braden were responsible for these highly successful  “Open Mike” night events.

July 14-18 Kristen Koger and I took Waysnah, Monica, Christina, Ja Sang Mai, Sang Lung, Doi Bu, Way Doh, K’Paw, Kekoa and Kanoa to Music and Worship Arts Camp at Eagle Eryie.  The Virginia Baptist Mission Board sponsors this camp.  Activities at Camp include singing, drama, art, orchestra and a lot of swimming!  We all had a great time and are looking forward to next summer!  Chrstina Sung, Monica Iang, Waysnah Htoo,  Brynne Severns, Dylan, Kaeo, Kanoa and Kekoa Burgess auditioned for Virginia Baptist All-State Choir in September and all of them were accepted into the choir.  We love participating in Virginia Baptist music activities!

September brought Sterling’s return and the return of regular church activities.  Sanctuary Choir got back to their normal schedule and the Wednesday evening children’s activities include choir.  We are busy preparing for the weekly worship services and for Christmas concerts and programs.  The Sanctuary Choir began working on “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi and several other anthems that are based on the “Gloria” text.     The children sang several songs based around the Narrative Lectionary passages and then began to work on their Christmas Pageant.  This year Marty Watkin wrote the pageant.

The pageant was presented on December 14th in the 11:00 AM worship service.  The children were responsible for the dramatic portions of the pageant and the youth group provided the music for the program.   The Sanctuary Choir and friends sang at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Va. on Dec. 20.   The program included “Gloria in D” by Antonio Vivaldi and “Gloria” by Craig Courtney.   We were accompanied by a string Quartet.  We then presented several of those pieces during worship on Dec. 21 and at Christmas in the Fan with the Richmond Concert Band on the same day.  The Christmas Eve service was a wonderful mix of solos, duet and ensembles.  Tabernacle is blessed with an amazing amount of musical talent.

We are grateful for the talents and dedication of our music staff, Ryan Corbitt, Ron Simmons and Terry Witt.  Their talent and versatility is amazing.  This Christmas season Ryan Corbitt recorded a solo album of Christmas and Advent pieces, Ron conducted the Vivaldi and Terry sang several of the solos.  The music program would not be the same without them.  Serving in the music ministry at Tabernacle is a wonderful opportunity.

Judy Fiske

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