Mary said “yes” to God. The church celebrates the feast day of St. Mary the Virgin on August 15, and while not every parish has a special service that day, Mary’s “yes” is always with us and is manifested throughout all of Christendom. Her eternal “yes” to God’s call is a foundation-stone for the story of salvation. The musicians of our Diocesan Choir said “yes” not so many months ago when the call for singers was sent out. These musicians, from parishes large and small, took a leap of faith and stood up to the challenge of creating music for one of the most important moments for our diocese in recent memory. There are so many people to thank. First, I would thank God for the blessings we all received through these events. Of course, I am also proud of and grateful for our Cathedral clergy and staff who worked so hard to make the consecration a reality. My wife (our Assistant Choirmaster), Katie Powell, did a marvelous job directing the Diocesan Choir in rehearsal and service. Her expertise in voice and choral matters were integral parts of the choir’s success. She, along with Stephanie Hopper, assisted me greatly in preparing the mountain of music, paperwork, and correspondence necessary for this event. Our Cathedral Choir worked tirelessly through the summer in rehearsals here at the church to prepare for the consecration and the seating of our bishop.
Normally, the choir has the summer off, but they understood the importance of these events, and their role as a Cathedral Choir not just in name but in action. Our choir, worked harder for this event than for just about anything else we’ve done, and I am very grateful for that. THANK YOU to all the members of our Diocesan Choir! So many parishes sent choir members to sing for the consecration service. All of those people made a priceless contribution to the music. Even though there is no way I could communicate with each one of them individually, each and every one of them is an appreciated and valued member of our Diocesan Choir. Because they came to rehearsals, listened to rehearsal learning recordings, and sang beautifully, we were able to have beautiful choral music worthy of the great occasion.
Our Diocesan Children’s Choir did a wonderful job also! I was so proud to see a new generation of singers join us to enhance our music. At the very moment of the consecration prayer they sang Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit). How fitting that our youth should give voice to our prayers at this solemn and joyous moment! It is my hope that they will remember their role in the service for years to come. I hope they know how appreciated they are.
Many thanks to the organists for our ceremony—Jeff Clearman (All Saints, Mobile), Kevin Davis (Trinity, Mobile), and Jason Beasley (St. Stephen’s, Brewton)—for playing so wonderfully and contributing to the prayerful spirit of our liturgy. Special thanks also go to Treece Efird, Ken Karadin, and all the people of Christ Church, Pensacola, for hosting our Diocesan Choir rehearsal there on July 11. There are so many people and organizations to thank—too many to list here.
Thank you to all involved in the consecration music. You have blessed the people of this Diocese. You have participated in the eternal love of God expressed through music. As all of the musicians in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast “set their hands to the plow” as the 2015/16 season approaches, it is my prayer that all of us will continue to touch lives through music. It is with great hope for our future as a diocese that I pray we will stand on the shoulders of our accomplishments at the consecration Eucharist to infuse new life into our music. Ultimately, God creates what is good, and God was with us at the consecration. However, we said “yes” and did the work necessary to make beautiful music. I hope we will all continue to say “yes.”