In true St. Paul’s fashion, many volunteers stepped up to assist in cataloging the choral anthem music library and I am very pleased to report that the project is complete! To all the volunteers, especially Barbara Bryan, Diane Meelheim and Barb Ackermann, thank you for your help with stamping and numbering. Now our choral music is indexed on a computer spreadsheet and easily accessible. This is a tremendous tool for planning music appropriate to the liturgical calendar. As an example we can now easily look all the way towards Easter and select music that fits well with the scripture readings on any given Sunday. This capability allows me to introduce new anthems to the choir several weeks before they will be sung in service, so we can take the time to learn our music well. This is one method of attaining improved choral quality.
The refurbishing of the Grace Handbells is a slow process as the tarnish seems to be in multiple layers. It is taking much polishing to bring back their full luster. Further research into the bells reveals that they are in fact from the John Taylor & Co. Bell Foundry in Loughborough, UK. Besides handbells, Taylor casts tower bells that ring throughout England and around the world. Notable in the United States, Taylor bells ring in the towers at Yale, Harvard, Duke, Washington National Cathedral and many others. Taylor’s Foundry is the oldest continuous bell foundry since the mid-14th century, and has likely cast more large bells than any other bell foundry in history. We rang four of the handbells in the All Saint’s Day service and we will ring six of them in the 4 pm Family Service on Christmas Eve. I already have several parishioners expressing an interest in establishing a handbell choir and volunteering to ring on Christmas Eve. I hope we can ring more bells more often! If you are a bell enthusiast like me, I would like to talk to you.
The 1st – 5th grade children and the youth are learning the music they will sing on Christmas Eve in the Family Service. I am meeting with the children and youth in their classrooms on Sunday mornings now through Christmas to teach their songs. If you have a child or youth that wants to sing on Christmas Eve, please bring them to Christian Formation class.
I pray that all music offerings shine as brightly as the St. Paul’s Grace Handbells! I ask for your continued prayers for our music ministry, for the choir and for me as we seek to serve and worship God through our music.