Monday, April 2, 2018

Happy Nor' Easter

The Adult and Senior Children's Choir of St. Mary's Nutley

Happy Nor'Easter

It is the second day of spring. As I walk around town I see people digging out of yet another "Last storm” of the winter of 2017.

I see a man shoveling out his car. Although we don’t speak, his body language speaks volumes of his feelings about the snow.  My thoughts are interrupted by the whisper of children and gaze to the balcony of the house. There I see two sets of bright eyes peering at the snow through the open door. The boy and girl, about 7 and 5 respectively are wearing flannel pajamas. Although I can’t make out their words; their body language suggests an opinion about the snow the polar (pun intended) opposite of that of their father.

I suspect the women who arrived at the tomb on Easter morning may have been like the man with the shovel. They were pragmatic. They were doing what had to be done. I believe, however, that they left like the two wide-eyed children staring at mounds of snow. They were changed by what they saw and returned with a sense of wonder that compelled Peter and John to race to the tomb.

These two thoughts stayed with me as I continued my walk. I evaluated how I respond to an Easter story I have reread each of the 40 years in which I have served as director of music.  Have I lost a sense of wonder at the miracle of Christ’s resurrection? Am I so pragmatic that I simply do what has to be done? Do I forget that the empty tomb changes everything?

How about you?  How do we reconnect with the wonder of Christ’s resurrection in our 5th Easter?  How about our 50th? 

I’m sure my answer won't surprise you: "It's the music.”  What might surprise you is that it’s not just the music: it’s the people singing the music.  Like the story from the beginning of the article; the key ingredient is the wonder of youth. Perhaps you have heard one of two groups who combine youth with talent, dedication and energy. Both groups came to St. Mary's about 4 years ago.

The first were the third and fourth graders who formed the core of our children's choir. They are now in the 7th and 8th grade and we have only scraped the surface of their potential.

The second group; our quartet:  Apryl, Gabrianna, Aaron and David were handpicked from the music program at Montclair State University. 
Apryl, Gabrianna, David, Aaron and Bruce

While some have graduated or moved on, these talented young adults bring what I consider to be the perfect mix of professionalism and commitment to congregational singing that is at the heart of my vision for music at St. Mary's.

The third group is all of us.  We have been together now almost 5 years and are beginning to create what worship at St. Mary’s is during this time in our parish’s life. 

The Easter-Berbary photobombing us!
The second group; our quartet:  Apryl, Gabrianna, Aaron and David were handpicked from the music program at Montclair State University. 

I am blessed to be here and blessed that you are here as well.

Wishing you an extraordinary Easter!


“People of God, 
see the morning is new; 
rise from your sleeping and run to the tomb.  
Come and see!  Come and see!  
He is alive.”

From “Alleluia!  Love is Alive” by Steve Angrisano, Jesse Manibusan and Sarah Hart

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