River Road Church’s ministry of music is supported by your generous stewardship offerings. As members and friends of River Road Church know, this ministry is multifaceted, with a rich history extending back for decades. It includes adult, youth, and children’s choirs, the bell choir, and more recently the Camerata, and many other programs. Regular participants include people of all ages and musical backgrounds, from young to young at heart, from experienced professional musician to enthusiastic beginner (if you’re not involved but would like to be, there’s a place for you, too!).
For those of us who are a part of these programs, they are making a difference by building and nurturing communities in Christ around a common love of music. Emelia, Eleanor, Libby, and I have all made many lasting, wonderful friendships among the musicians of River Road Church. We have the opportunity to learn and grow as musicians, hopefully allowing us to serve better with our gifts of time. The music programs have allowed us to experience and participate in many extraordinary opportunities, including rehearsal retreats and special concerts, and performing newly commissioned compositions. I have seen River Road Church’s music programs profoundly and deeply affect its participants, leading some to discover their true vocation, and others to acts of service and great generosity.
As important as these effects are, I hope you will agree that River Road Church’s music ministry makes a difference for all of us, not just for those who are directly involved in music programs. What difference does it make? Surely part of the answer involves the important role of music in our worship. Music can move us to peace, consolation, contrition, joy, and inspiration. At its best, music opens us and reorients us to the greatest and final reality. I would venture that anyone reading this can recall an especially significant moment of worship at River Road Church, a “thin place” where God’s presence felt near. I would further venture that music played an important part in that experience. What was that experience for you? A certain hymn during a Sunday morning service, an occasional service such as All Saints’ or Ash Wednesday, a wedding, a funeral, singing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve? Something as grand as Handel’s Messiah or as simple as the Taizé chant “Jesus, Remember Me”?
Paul once wrote, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Our inheritance as Christians includes a musical tradition full of commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy works. The music ministry of River Road Church strives to bring that tradition to life for all of us. It helps remind us — music program participants, enthusiastic hymn singers, and appreciative listeners — of who we are and whose we are, and points us to the ground of all being, to the author of our salvation. We hope you will continue to generously support this important work.
Written by Seth Roberts