As most everyone knows, our parish is making immediate preparations for a $7 million building construction and renovations project. Storage pods (nicknamed Paul, Silas and Timothy) now stand on the east lawn waiting to be filled, and every picture and plaque has been removed from the walls of Blaisdell and Greenwood.
This is the assigned week for the music ministry to pack up and vacate. Last Sunday our choirs vested in the vesting rooms and retrieved their music folders from their choir boxes. This Sunday our choirs will vest in the narthex and retrieve their music folders from milk crates.
Volunteer choir members are working in shifts this week. Just today we packed 850 octavo boxes into 40 storage boxes and are awaiting delivery of another 40 storage boxes tomorrow. The music resource closet is now completely vacated. Boy, that was a lot of stuff!
Tomorrow we will move $10,000 worth of handbell equipment to a locked closet down the hall near our temporary children’s and bell rehearsal rooms. In another week, the music store will take our three grand pianos and professionally store them for a year.
Our choir room is not a beautiful room but is a large, highly functional space that many groups enjoy using. In addition to rehearsals for our parish choirs, we regularly host civic choir rehearsals, Suzuki violin lessons and ensemble rehearsals, private voice lessons and individual practices. This room has also held vestry meetings, centering prayer groups, bridge and backgammon, and American Guild of Organists board meetings.
After the Christmas Eve midnight service, we have gathered around the piano in the choir room to toast the Christ child with champagne and Belgian chocolates. On Easter morning, we clear off the handbell tables and cover them with breakfast foods that we scarf down between the two big services. (Our regular brass players like this part of Easter morning at Church of the Holy Communion.)
And when the choirmaster’s birthday lands on a Wednesday, those hurt-so-good lemon bars, dusted in powdered sugar, magically appear, and the choirmaster is “forced” to end rehearsal fifteen minutes early.
Between “Mr. B’s” (Jim Brinson, my beloved predecessor and friend) years and my 17 years here, I cannot begin to list the number of anthems and major works that have been prepared and rehearsed in this choir room.
When we return to this building in 2019, we will be in a beautiful new music suite consisting of an identically large rehearsal room, vesting rooms, an auxiliary rehearsal room, instrument storage room, music library and work spaces for our assistant musicians.
And as champagne seems to be a theme here, this week we will raise a glass to this choir room, which has served us so well. In the meantime, we will conduct all rehearsals in the balcony of the nave, where we sing each Sunday morning anyway.
Is rehearsing with a digital piano in the balcony of the main church ideal? Perhaps not. These are growing pains, and we have to keep our eyes on the final prize. Indeed, these slight inconveniences could be a whole lot worse.
We could be rehearsing in a double-wide trailer on the church parking lot.