For the first time since 2014, I got to sing in a Christmas Cantata. As I mentioned earlier, we have been attending the Lewis Center United Methodist Church when we are here in Ohio. In reading through the bulletin at the beginning of November, I noticed an invitation to sing with the choir for the cantata.
Unlike a lot of churches, Lewis Center has special cantata rehearsals from the beginning of November through the middle of December. Regular choir rehearsal is Wednesday nights and they practice anthems as well as songs from the cantata program. But they also have Saturday rehearsals where it is all cantata all the time.
I really appreciated this because I could make all of the Saturday rehearsals but none of the Wednesday night rehearsals. There were ten or so of us that only came on Saturdays for the rehearsals. We were welcomed wholeheartedly and never made to feel guilty about not coming on Wednesday nights.
Yesterday we performed “Behold! A Savior!” at both of the morning worship services. We had 30 singers, six musicians, and our fearless director Tamara Hallas. Tamara had us come at 8 so we could get our voices warmed up and practice entrances on songs. We sang at the 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services to a total of about 500 people. Both performances went very well and were received warmly by the congregations. Tom, John, and Jackie all came to the 10:30 service and agreed that it was a very good performance.
“Behold! A Savior!” is a wonderful cantata with a nice mix of music. Each piece of narration includes a Bible passage and a story from one of the participants in the Christmas narrative. Mary and Joseph both have beautiful solos. There are several upbeat songs and lots of traditional carols sung in nontraditional ways. We had a pianist, a keyboardist, a trombonist, and three percussionists.
I very much enjoyed singing with a choir again. It is always one of my favorite things about being part of a church. I really appreciated being able to come only for cantata rehearsal. Even though regular members of the choir invited me to come and sing with them anytime, they did not make me feel bad about only being able to sing this one event. Being able to sing and make a joyful noise was a great gift to me, given by a warm and loving congregation.