Come, let's shout praises to God; raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! (Psalm 95:1)
Five Filipinos: Lilian Lim (second soprano), Edmund Clay (tenor), Anthony Griarte (baritone), Israel Navarro (bass), and I (bass) are among the 114-members of Lake Avenue Church Sanctuary Choir, who will be singing in a concert during the 71st Annual Convention of the National Association of Church Musicians at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, California this Thursday, July 16th. With the exception of Israel, who professionally sang in the Philippines as a member of HIS Praise, we are ordinary people who just wanted to offer our God-given voices to minister through songs. Hence, it took extra effort for us to memorize 11 songs and master the music in just a short time.
During rehearsals, Dr John Sutton, our choir director, always reminds everyone to have clear diction and sing beautifully for the Lord. Except those members, who are former members of the Los Angeles Opera Choir, music directors and professors, many of us have one or two shortcomings.
One shortcoming, many of us definitely have, is how to hold our breath longer. One of the songs, "Hallelujah!", which is a composition of Dr. Emma Lou Diemer, requires us to hold our breath for 30 beats at the very end. In this song, there is only one word, "Hallelujah" to be sang in brisk tempo, 55 times. It is so difficult to train old "dogs" some tricks. Singing through ones diaphragm takes awhile to learn; singing softly with increasing crescendo at the end and holding the last note in 30 beats takes extra discipline.
Perform with your gut, slowly releasing your breath, and savoring the joy and sweetness of what you're doing. You will realize that you can overcome your shortcoming and enjoy what God has given you. As I pondered on these words, I realized that this also applies in our everyday life, in or out our workplace.
Most of us easily loss our "cool" when challenge. We always wanted outright positive result. Instead of enjoying the things we do, we often times end up thinking of failure and shortcomings. Consequently, we ended up gnawed into pieces until we give up our ghost. We forget that, in God, everything is possible.
Right after the second Sunday service today, we have our second to the last choir rehearsal. Again, we were reminded to sing beautifully for the Lord.
I patiently managed my breathing technique, and I was surprised! Those sections where I have problems before became easy, even though I still was nursing a stubborn cough. For the first time, I was able to hold my breath in 30 beats. As I listened to the choir, I heard a fervent chant-like song, upbeat soul musics, and lively angelic celebratory songs of "Hallelujahs".
Join us at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Long Beach at 7 p.m. on July 16th and be blessed.
Lake Avenue Church Sanctuary Choir is already praying for an Out-of-the-Loft Concert in Arizona and Argentina in 2010 and 2011, respectively. These five Filipinos will certainly be joining the tour.
If you would like to join us, even if you still are not a member of Lake Avenue Church, the Sanctuary Choir would like to invite you. An open enrollment will be on September 3rd. Join Lilian, Israel, Anthony, and the two Edmunds savor the musical talent that God has given you. You will be blessed as you bless others through songs.