The music ministry at Ascension & Holy Trinity offers several opportunities for parishioners who would like to offer their talents to the Glory of God. Please know that all are welcome to participate, and your contribution to these ministries need not be an all-or-nothing commitment. For example, you may want to only commit to a specific season (such as Advent) or a specific service (such as Easter Sunday). You will be more than welcome to join us then.
If you wish to participate in the music ministry or have any questions, please contact Sara Cahall, Minster of Music, by email [email@example.com] or phone [513-821-5341 ext. 204].
Summer 2021 Offerings
Our summer choir is open to ages 8 and up and will rehearse on Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:00 pm. Masks will be required, and we will have them on hand for you. We’ll be going back to basics this summer after a year of hardly any singing, focusing primarily on hymn and psalm singing, as well as some easier choral pieces. If you’re new to choral singing, our summer choir would be a great way for you to ease into the choir experience. If you’d like to join but feel hesitant because of travel plans, please don’t let this stop you! We would love to have you whether or not you’re able to join us every week, and we can easily work something out with whatever your travel schedule might be.
If you’d like more information or want to join the ensemble, please email Sara Cahall at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply stop by a rehearsal!
Sara Cahall | Minister of Music
What does the Music Ministry mean to me?
Music Ministry in general has been a major part of my life since I was very young. I remember singing along to the hymns in church as a small child, waiting impatiently for the day I was old enough to go join the choir singing from the balcony. When I was in 3rd grade, I finally got to walk up those stairs for the first time, and I will never forget singing “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” as my first hymn as a choir member. A few years later, when I was 12, I took over the Director of Music position at my home church, and the rest is history.
During all my years of ministry, now a little over 20 years including my time in my home church, I’ve learned that one of the most consistent aspects of Music Ministry is the way every member quickly becomes like an extended family. Because of this, I still have wonderful relationships with many of the volunteer members of other ministries I’ve been a part of. A&HT’s ministry is no different, as I’ve witnessed all of the love, compassion, and care members of our Music Ministry show each other. I’ve seen how incredibly welcoming they are, and how eager they are to make new members feel like a part of the family.
Music has this wonderful ability to bring people together regardless of background, beliefs, and personalities. Being in any musical group comes with a certain level of trust among its members that opens the door for people to develop meaningful relationships with each other. This trust creates a kind of bond that is truly difficult to describe. I can’t wait to see how our Music Ministry family will grow and spread God’s love in our church, community, and the world in the coming years.
How has the Music Ministry changed during the pandemic?
Our Music Ministry was completely turned on its head during the pandemic. When I started working here last year, we were already live-streaming services with just the quartet of section leaders, the choir was mostly meeting on Zoom for some social interaction, and there was no congregation in church to sing. Over the past year, this ministry has overcome so many challenges. They have learned to rehearse on Zoom, navigated the technology necessary to make virtual choir recordings, and are now overcoming a new obstacle in getting used to singing with masks on.
Despite all these challenges, our Music Ministry has found ways to grow and thrive during the pandemic. Our choir members have become more independent as they’ve had to learn music without being able to hear their fellow members around them. Our handbell choir has been revived, and we’ve had some time to really learn some of the history of our craft which we wouldn’t normally be able to fit in rehearsals. Our ministry as a whole has grown closer and developed new bonds through overcoming these challenges together.
Now that our ensembles are back to rehearsing in person again, we’ve found a lot of the new tricks we learned over the last year will continue to be useful as we continue moving forward toward normal. In the fall, I’m planning to start broadcasting and recording our rehearsals via Zoom. The Zoom broadcast is an easy way for our members to attend rehearsals when they’re sick or on extended trips, whereas before they would have just had to miss rehearsal. It’s also an easy way for new people to see what our rehearsals are like from the comfort of home! Being able to record rehearsals allows me to share the videos with members who have conflicts and will also be an important tool for me to be able to look back on rehearsals and improve my own techniques.
Our handbell choir has also found new inspiration from what we’ve learned in our Zoom meetings this year. After our session learning about the handbell’s origin in the ringing of tower bells in England and how this tradition has continued in both bell towers and handbell ensembles, we decided this was something we wanted to learn. Change ringing is a system by which bells are rung in rotating sets of permutations, which is an entirely different challenge from reading music. I’m excited to start this new project with them, and I know it will bring with it a new level of trust and camaraderie among our members in learning something totally new for all of us. Our Music Ministry is back in action after surviving the pandemic, and while some of it may look slightly different, we are stronger and more determined than ever before.
How can you be involved in the Music Ministry?
There are so many ways to get involved in our Music Ministry, but I’ll begin with the most obvious: our choir and handbell ensembles. Our handbell ensemble meets immediately after church on Sundays until noon and is open to ages 8 and up. This summer, no music reading ability whatsoever is required. After the summer season, we’ll offer a workshop a few times a year for anyone interested in joining who is concerned they may not have the skills to jump in. If you aren’t able to join us this summer, keep an eye out for those!
Our summer choir rehearses on Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:00 pm, and at 9:00 am for the 10:00 am service one Sunday each month, and it is also open to ages 8 and up. During the Sept-May season, rehearsals will be from 7:30-9:00 pm on Thursdays. This is a great option if you’re interested in one of our ensembles and need a more flexible schedule. As I get our next season planned, there will be many opportunities to join for a shorter period, like joining us for the Christmas Eve services or for Holy Week.
There are also a number of ways to get involved in our Music Ministry without committing to one of our ensembles. One of these is through instrumental music. I would love to get a running list of members of our congregation that play instruments or other genres of music to include in our Sunday worship. If this describes you, please get in touch with me so I can get more information from you!
If making music isn’t your passion, there are plenty of options that don’t involve music as well. You can also support us by volunteering to help with our choir and handbell library or ushering for our events. If listening to music is more your style, you can support us by coming to our events and concerts like the Advent Lessons and Carols service we’ll have this winter. Whether you want to make music with us, have some great organizational or people skills you’d like to lend us, or just want to come out and attend our events to support the ministry, there is a place for you here.
How is funding used by the Music Ministry?
The way our funding was used in the last year was quite a bit different from how it might be used in a normal year, and it was incredibly important in helping us weather the storm of the pandemic. Some of our unusual spending from the Music Ministry budget was used to get licensing to live stream the music during worship. We also used some of our budget to buy masks and other supplies to keep our section leaders safe while they were providing music during the year. Your contributions to our section leader fund enabled us to continue having singers during the last year when we were unable to have the choir together. This fund also allowed our choir to have the foundation they needed from the section leaders to make the fabulous virtual choir recordings we heard at Christmas and during Lent/Easter.
In addition to some of this unusual spending, our Music Ministry budget was still used in some of the ways it would be in a typical year. Primarily, this was in upkeep for our musical instruments, including regular tuning and maintenance. Your contributions to our Music Ministry are key to keeping our instruments in shape so we can continue providing music for services. During a more normal year, this funding would also be used to bring in instrumentalists to play during worship services, to do larger works that involve hiring outside musicians with our choir and/or handbell choir, and to support special events put on by our Music Ministry.
Your contributions to our Music Ministry and to our separate section leader fund are incredibly important in keeping our current offerings running smoothly, and there are many ways we could continue to grow with further support. Some new goals might be to start a concert series or start a program for high schoolers from the community to work as choral scholars. We would also have the option of increasing the frequency of bringing instrumentalists to play for worship and with the choir/handbells. We are incredibly grateful for your support, without which we wouldn’t be able to do a large majority of what we do.