Thursday, August 18, 2005

Speaking to Ross High School's Show Choir

Our church choir director, Rosie Collier, invited me to do a "master class" at the summer camp for her school show choir. I asked her what she wanted me to talk about -- I'm just a preacher, not a choir director (he writes, doing his best Dr. McCoy from Star trek). "Talk about unity and working together," she says.

So, with much trepidation and trembling I travelled out to Ross to speak with them for about an hour (hey, even pastors still get nervous). My goal was to impress upon them three things 1) you need to feel the music -- lose yourself in your work. 2) You need to listen to each other and feel yourselves working together 3) you need to feel the audience -- they want you to succeed and you need to feel that they're with you.

I dusted off a few old theatre exercises designed to help people connect. We circled up and tossed an imaginary ball back and forth (to help us learn to match our reaction to the force of the person "throwing"). We paired up and did the mirror exercise where you have to mirror every movement of your partner (to learn to follow and tune in to the other). And we did the freeze frame exercise -- where two actors are playing a scene, and someone in the audience yells freeze, takes the exact position of one of the actors, and then starts up a brand new scene (the actor still on stage has to listen very closely and work with the actor coming onstage to make the exercise work).

These folks did great -- they threw themselves into the exercises (and I hope they had a little fun). There are some truly talented performers in that group, and I'm sure that given a little sweat equity, they'll do great in competition.

The only place where I got theological was in telling them that we can't achieve greatness alone -- God created us to lean upon one another and depend on one another. I referenced I Corinthians 12 -- but there were other passages that make the same point (my favorite being Romans 12:4-5 "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." I know, I know, the passage applies to the church, not to show choirs -- but the general principle that lays behind the passage is that we were made to be in relationship and to lean upon one another -- that design finds its culmination in the covenant relationships within the church, but it still gets partial fulfillment out there in society.)

I also enjoyed how open many of these kids were with their faith. Rosie had them all make posters telling about themselves, and several of them wrote about their relationship with Jesus (one of the girls is a pastor's daughter, even). This encouraged me more than they will know.

Rosie has had several of these kids sing in church -- and I hope that some of them will come back down this year -- God has distributed some really great gifts there.

Soli Deo Gloria