I just LOVE Thursday nights!! Is it because it’s near the end of the week…maybe….but it’s much more than that! The love of Thursday nights happened gradually over time over a period of years. Let me tell you how it all happened.
(Here’s where I need one of those wavy effects like they show in movies and on TV when someone is going back in time. I’ll try to recreate that….))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))))))))((((((((((((((((((((((((((
And poof, we’re there!
Picture a cute little strawberry blonde 2-year-old (yes, I WAS cute at one time!). She’s standing in front of her small church congregation, being prompted by her mother to sing. So, I did. I sang “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” That’s appropriate for church, right? Well, what can I say….I was 2 for crying out loud! That began a lifetime of singing performances and musical experiences that led to my love for Thursday nights.
Around age 10, I was “forced” to take organ lessons. (I say I was forced because no kid wanted to play the organ….the piano was way cooler!) My mom and dad often sang together at church and many Saturday evenings, they would practice together. Dad was on the organ and mom would turn the pages and sing along with him. It was around this time that one evening, they heard me humming along and realized I was humming in harmony with them. Tada….add an instant alto and now there’s a trio! We sang for many years together until my dad started to lose his hearing.
When I was 13, I was sort of a rebelious soul. I thought my parents were weird (but what kid didn’t at this age?). It was at this point that my true love for a Thursday night was about to take shape. A girl in my homeroom, Kim, wanted to try out for the highschool choir. However, she was too afraid to go to the tryouts alone. So, she conned me into going with her. I had NO intention of joining a “sissy” choir. We waited together outside the band room and I heard girl after girl sing the first verse of “My Country Tis of Thee.” They’d sing and walk out, being told that if they made choir, they’d find out next week when they posted the results. Soon it was Kim’s turn. She went in and began to sing. Oh, she was terrible!! (Picture a cat howling when it’s tail gets stepped on….now magnify that about 4 times!) Oh my word! My ears hurt. She walked out with a huge smile, confident that she had done well and was a shoe-in to get in the choir. Then came my turn.
I walked in and met Ron Eshelman. Little did I know this man would change my life. He played the intro to “My Country Tis of Thee” and I began to sing….”My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.” He stopped playing. I was confused. I hadn’t heard him do this before. He said, “Do you know what a scale is?” (Well, duh…of course I did….I had three years of exciting organ lessons under my belt!)
I replied that I did. “I want you to sing these scales. Just sing the word ‘la’.” He began to play scale after scale as I sang, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, laaaaa.” Finally, after what seemed like a 100 scales. He stopped, folded his hands and said, “You have a HUGE range, and a beautiful voice! You’re in my choir.”
WHAT? I had no intentions of being in the choir. Little did I realize that I was the first one to find out that I’d made it. When the list came out, sure enough, my name was at the top. Kim’s name was no where to be found!
I went ahead with joining choir, after all it seemed like it would be an easy credit. But, choir ended up changing my life! Mr. Eshelman became my favorite teacher. He was a good friend and mentor as well, and I will never forget all he taught me. When I graduated, he encouraged me to continue using my God-given gift, and I guaranteed him that I would. I loved to sing now….especially for the Lord!
A few years later, the Gospel Tide Hour Choir came for a concert at my church. The choir director would usually lead a congregational song during intermission. For whatever reason, that night, I was asked to do it. I led the song, “When We all get to Heaven.” After the concert, perfect strangers from the choir came up to me and said, “You need to join us!” Then the choir director came and asked me as well! I was delighted!
For the next 7 years, I went to choir practice every Thursday night!! (You wondered where the Thursdays came into this….I know!) I had a solo every year and loved every moment of choir. The choir disbanded in 2002 shortly after my daughter, Katie was born. I was devastated! I grieved…literally grieved for months. I’d cry when I thought about it.
Six years later, I ran into Fred Keener, the former director of the Gospel Tide Choir and he told me he was directing a new choir. He asked me to come sing. I could have hugged him!!!
So, in 2007, I joined the Cumberland Valley Christian Choir. This choir has grown from 30-something to 105 members this year! I am so blessed every Thursday evening to join in song to my Savior with these wonderful people!
I’m still a soloist and love lifting my voice in praise! Fred is now my “musical mentor” as well as many other good friends I have made through being in choir.
So, now you know why Thursdays are the highlight of my week!
Keep on singing!