On August 19 my husband was installed as Minister of Music and Worship at a new church. We have been welcomed more warmly than we could have ever anticipated and are seeing with greater clarity each week why God has called him to this place at this time in his professional life. Still, it has been hard to say goodbye to our former church home. We were there for almost thirteen years. During that time we made many dear friends and my husband did much to develop a rich, liturgical, singing piety. In the wake of our departure we have had countless people from our former church reach out to say how much they are going to miss having us in their midst. I have been most touched upon hearing from both young people and their parents about how much my husband's teaching has meant to them in the recent and more distant past. Just a few days ago Phillip received a note from one of his singers in last year's junior high choir. The note read simply, "Alleluia! I'm still in choir. For you, Cantor." When you read something like that you grieve anew for those you have had to leave behind.
But then you see something like this. Another group of children in another place who, just like those we left behind, have a song to sing and need someone to help them sing it. The video below was taken during warm-up for church this morning. It is typical of my husband's approach to working with children: demanding, accepting only the best, but always doing so with a sense of joy and fun. (Former choir members, young and old, will recognize Phillip's "Russian piano teacher" persona.) I told Phillip a few weeks ago that I know that he will be a blessing to all the children with whom he is currently working but that I believe that somewhere among them is a child, maybe more than one, who particularly needs a teacher like him right now, and that is in part why the Lord as called him here.
These children are fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. They have been singing for their new choir director for about a month now. Aren't they sounding beautiful?
"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" - J. S. Bach from Cheryl on Vimeo.