An all-star choir

IMG_3691When I wasn’t airing up basketballs or watching basketball last Friday, I was listening to music. This included sitting with church member Leo Goertz in his living room drinking tea and listening to cantatas composed by Bach and Brahms. I told Leo that I wanted a “cultural experience” on Good Friday, and he did not disappoint me. It was an exquisite time with an exquisite man.

What was so special about my Good Friday cultural experience was sharing it with a person who has studied and listened to music all of his life, and who has such refined musical tastes and preferences. Leo told me that he was active in a church choir from age 16 until age 80. Surely Leo should be inducted into the musical Mennonite hall of fame (if only there was such a thing).

It wasn’t until college that I started appreciating classical music. It was then that I found myself wanting to be in an all-star choir. I’m a late bloomer in other words. And what better teacher could I ask for than Leo Goertz?


Leo and I listened to two recordings of BWV 82 by J. S. Bach. The first was mezzo- soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and the second was baritone Hans Hotter. This cantata has been described as being so beautiful, “it could stop wars.”

Leo is joined by many others at Rainbow who have spent much of their lives singing and appreciating music. And many of these people/ all-stars will be up front leading us in our Easter 2 worship service at Rainbow. (Easter is not over in other words. The Easter season actually continues until Pentecost, May 24.)

circlesLike these intertwining circles that will continue to grace the front of the sanctuary during the Easter season, the sopranos, altos, tenors and basses will make up the sermon on Sunday. Their voices will be accompanied by a host of instruments, maybe even a marimba because nothing says “Christ is Risen” more than a marimba right? The choir has worked hard on this piece/peace composed by Dr. Larry Nickel and I look forward to having them lead us in worship and proclamation.  Read more about “A requiem for peace” and Dr. Nickel here.

I don’t know if Leo will make it to the service. I do know that whether he is at home or at church, he will be communing with us in song and spirit. I hope the same for all of us.

Now for a prayer by Per Harling:

Creator God, bless the human creativity in poetry, the art and the music of the world. How dull and poor life would have been if you had not inspired poets and writers to interpret the thoughts and the experiences of humanity, if you had not let artists widen the perspectives of life with their colors and their forms, if you had not inspired musicians to catch the pulse of life and the multitude of tones, which have given body to the joy, the protest, and the praise of life. Creator God, help us all to enter the living space of creativeness, where freedom is breathing, where souls may mature and where life becomes meaningful.

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