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Music in the Time of Pandemic

This week marks my tenth anniversary of having the privilege of being the Director of Music at Atonement. I have been reflecting on all of the changes that have taken place since I arrived and in my nostalgia, I was looking back on happier times and came across the St. Cecilia Choir’s recording of Vaughan Williams’ O Lord thou hast been our refuge that we sang a few years ago. I am reminded that our current struggle is only a blip on the radar in the life of the church. I say this not to minimize the seriousness of the effects - our musicians have and are experiencing hardship - unemployment, anxiety, depression, loneliness, despair, and the list goes on. We miss in-person singing dearly.  But I am happy to say that with the support of our clergy and vestry, we have been able to keep the musical community alive at Atonement. I asked a few choir members to share what it has meant to them during this time of virtual singing.     Continuing Schola virtually has been a wonderful healing way to make music with my colleagues and friends and to still feel connected to our ministry at Atonement.” - Anna VanDeKerchove, Schola “I found it to be a wonderful experience being part of our virtual choir and having the chance to sing together with my chorus family.” - Carole Trapp, St. Cecilia Choir “I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to remain connected to this group musically. It has been a bright light during a dark time.” - Katelyn Lee, Schola “Being able to continue singing for Atonement during this time of pandemic is a touchstone for what it means to continue community in the face of trauma. The schola is both my musical and faith home as well as a creative outlet each week.” - Ryan Strand, Schola “... but especially thankful for their willingness to create new technological ways in which Atonement choir members can sing. I am grateful to be able to be part of our virtual choral efforts - I am aware of other singing groups folding completely during this time. I am unexpectedly grateful for the recorded singing that we contribute - it is causing us to grow as singers in ways we would not have done otherwise.” - Joe Gauss, St. Cecilia Choir I am most grateful to the wonderful community of musicians here and look forward to what Chris and I have put together for them, and for you this fall. The Schola will resume early this year – on September 13 – and provide a virtual choir anthem each week and a choral mass monthly at the 11:00am Zoom worship. The St. Cecilia choir will sing two services of choral evensong (“Zoomensong”as we affectionately call it) each month on Wednesday evenings beginning in October. The joint choirs will premiere a service of Advent Lessons and Carols on December 13th and a prerecorded service with choral music will be available on Christmas Eve along with the in-person offerings with organ.  Chris Windle writes “... it is important to remember that humanity, music, and art have all made it through pandemics, wars, and all manner of challenges for thousands of years. Life has changed a lot since March 2020 and it will look different in 2021… but we are finding ways to create beauty and art – we must. And ultimately, we will sing together again, and it will be glorious.” With hope in our hearts for that day, my prayer is this:  “Lord, Thou hast been our refuge from one generation to another. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth and the world were made, Thou art God from everlasting and world without end. And the glorious Majesty of the Lord be upon us. O prosper Thou the work of our hands, O prosper Thou our handiwork.”  From Psalm 90

Peace and Blessings, Charlie Sega

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