“Why did you choose SSUC as your church home?” Over the years, many people have given the same answer. It is “because of the music.”
At SSUC, we are blessed with an inspiring selection of traditional and contemporary music Sunday after Sunday, year after year. So, we asked choir members “Why They Sing.” Here are some responses.
Michael Fenn, Music Director and Organist
My history in church music is quite vast and ecumenical, especially for a 20 year old! I began singing and playing guitar at a small Catholic Church in Athens, ON at the age of 12. I thoroughly enjoyed singing with the small group of singers every Sunday for Mass. After beginning voice lessons with Anne Landon at age 16, Anne invited me to join her choir at St. John’s United Church in Brockville for a Sunday or two. I say “yes” to a lot of different events and commitments, but I can say with absolute certainty, saying “yes” to this opportunity changed my life forever. I did not just join a choir. I joined a family. I fell in love with the fellowship and community of the choir, and how I was embraced with open arms. To this day, my closest friends and supporters are or were members of that choir. My life has been absolutely changed by these experiences.
That is why it is important to look at why we sing. Why are we here? And how does that common purpose bring us together in ways that only God could’ve planned. I hope you can take time to consider why YOU sing, and perhaps joining our choir family at SSUC. I would love to hear from you.
I grew up singing in the St. George’s United Church choir in Toronto, directed by Lloyd Bradshaw. I started in the Junior Choir, then moved to the 100-member Youth Choir. My brother and sister were in the choirs, my mom in the Senior Choir, and my dad sat in the congregation. The Youth Choir rehearsed on Sundays for two hours, after which we had supper in the church basement, organized by the Choir Auxiliary (UCW Unit 13). This was the social highlight of my week! After supper we sang an evening service, and I have loved evening services ever since.
Two other Youth Choir events stand out: a 4-week tour of the UK in 1964, and an annual Gilbert and Sullivan production. The director and stage manager had quite the job of getting a female chorus of about 60 on and off stage! Years later, in Kingston, I was in several Meistersingers G & S shows, where I met Margi McKay, who invited me to join the SSUC choir, and here I still am!
I love choral music and I tried to be part of a choir all my married life, which was not that easy since being a military family, we moved 15 times. So I joined church choirs to make new friends. After retirement, we settled into Kingston, and found a beautiful church with a wonderful choir. And as I had always done before, I called the choir director, Charlie and asked him if I could join his choir and he laughed and said of course you can! Once again, I had found a community of great friends who love to sing!
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t sing. It came as naturally as breathing. My Dad was a singer, which ensured that music, especially choral music, was an important part of our family life. When my sister and I were small, we would amuse ourselves on family car rides by singing. We made up harmonies to all the songs we knew, taking turns singing melody and harmony.
Singing fills me with energy. No matter how tired I feel when heading off to rehearsal, I come home afterwards absolutely “high” – excited by the challenges presented by the music, joyful at the sense of shared purpose with my fellow choristers, and with a heightened sense of well-being. Singing nourishes my soul and is my pathway to worship. Standing shoulder to shoulder with others; engaging every part of your body; breathing as one; lifting lifeless notes off a page and transforming them into a soaring, multi-part, beautiful musical gift to the listener – is a magical, and strangely intimate, experience. It forges strong bonds and deep, lifelong friendships.
Updated 2021 05 09