Psalm 98:4 (ESV) “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”
If you ask anyone who knows me, I’m not musically inclined. In fact, I lip sync a lot in church so as not to negatively affect the worship of others in my general vicinity. Even though I cannot sing well, I am able to acknowledge a good singer when I hear one.
Every Sunday afternoon, for one hour, I have the privilege of listening to some of the most beautiful singing I have ever heard in my life. I am one, of just a few people, who is able to hear my favorite choir rehearse each week. The choir members come from all over middle Tennessee and they are excited to share their God-given talents with each other and those of us permitted to be in the rehearsals.
This choir does not perform at a church. They will not perform in front of large crowds of people. They may not be asked to perform for celebrities or in Carnegie Hall. In fact, this choir, when it performs, will probably only perform in front of a very small audience.
Regardless of who they perform in front of or where they perform, they are my favorite choir.
This choir rehearses every Sunday afternoon on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville. They are led by a Board Certified Music Therapist, specially hired by Belmont, who demonstrates an uncanny level of patience each week. The songs she has chosen for this choir are not elaborate masterpieces. Instead they are songs most members know by heart or can easily learn.
When I look around at the other adults listening to rehearsals, I see joy on their faces that their little musician is part of this amazing choir. I can see the excitement as they take out their phones to take pictures of their son or daughter enthusiastically participating with the rest of the choir. I see the concern when their son or daughter does something they shouldn’t do followed by relief when he/she does not get in trouble. I see the pride on their faces as their child sings.
Simply being in this small choir room every Sunday is good for my soul!
I feel fortunate to be privy to these rehearsals. I am the proud father of one member of this choir. This choir, The Rising Star Choir of Nashville, is for children with special needs. The Music Therapy Department of Belmont University started the choir in January. As a parent, I am grateful for the University, the faculty who support this endeavor, and the students who give up part of their Sunday afternoon to spend time with my son and the other choir members.
I never imagined my son would be part of a choir, but thanks to Belmont University he is part of the best choir in the country (I admit my bias with this pronouncement). Singing is not his favorite activity, unless he can sing nursery rhymes, but this gets him out of his comfort zone and expands his horizons. He does not know all the songs they sing and that’s okay because this forces him to learn new songs. The ones he does know, he sings confidently. This experience is benefiting him in some very important ways.
He is being forced to interact with a variety of people.
He is trying something new.
He is around young adults who care about and accept him as he is!
Most importantly, he is part of a group!