Drawing the circle wide

People who sing in groups love to get together with others who are similarly inclined and sing together. And, let’s be honest, to show off a bit. Blessing the town where Betsy and I live are some truly fine choirs that enrich the services in their houses of worship. For a long time, I have cherished a fantasy in which these choirs would get together, perhaps annually, for a weekend festival of shared rehearsals culminating  in a public performance.

So far, this idea remains a dream for adult choirs, but some visionaries who care about the youth in our community made it reality four years ago by bringing together the youth choirs of their two respective churches. In the years since, word has spread, and the event has expanded to include youth choirs from other local churches. Donations from the concerts’ audiences have raised funds to support local charities chosen by the young singers.

Last night, youth choirs representing five local churches filled the sanctuary of our church with a gorgeous music celebration they chose to title “Draw the Circle Wide,” a reference to a hymn of inclusiveness they all sang together to end the concert. The program included a selection sung by a Karen Community Choir made up of families of refugees from Myanmar who are rebuilding their lives in our community. The youthful choir members chose to direct the audience’s donations to supporting the Refugee Support Center, a program created and directed by a member of our church.

These talented young adults offer us more than music. They bring us optimism about the future. Good things happen when they get together.

Next year, I expect this joyful program to expand even further as more local churches join the celebration. Maybe someday our many excellent adult choirs will catch the bug and create a similar event.

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