College students singing classic spirituals, concert pianists performing Bach and toddlers dancing to the sounds of a flute. These were our visions when we crafted the October concert series at the church. It would be a way to celebrate the classical music that graces our weekly 11:00 a.m. worship as well as invite in our neighbors to revel in the glory of the sacred space we share. The melodies and harmonies of those three Sunday afternoon concerts far exceeded my expectations. The KU Singers brought tears to my eyes, especially Darius who sang a solo just months after receiving a heart transplant. The UMKC masters students from Taiwan, Iowa, China and Kansas City brought Bach to life with passion and precision. And symphony professionals joined congregational amateurs on amazing flute and violin performances that inspired children to embrace the music.
But something beyond the music lingers with me now. At one of the concerts, a UMKC student from Seattle attended. At the reception afterwards she asked me, “do you have a choir here that I could sing in?” And a few days later, she had come to choir rehearsal. She had been looking for a choir but didn’t know how to find one. At another concert a KU student told me, “I love this church. I wish it wasn’t a 45 minute drive from Lawrence because this is where I would like to go each Sunday.” At the Nancy Zschietzschmann Memorial Bach concert, the organ soloist gave a brief testimony before her solo, explaining how profoundly influenced her own children had been by Nancy’s mentorship, sponsorship and encouragement. Then she played her piece, for Nancy, our long time member who died last year.
And at the final concert, we removed the table and screen that typically hide the organ. Toddlers gathered round the organ and were mesmerized by those four keyboards, foot peddles and myriad stops. Some of them sat on the bench with Andrew, our assistant organist and played those grand notes together.
What began with a dream about music became an experience of community, hope, and love. This holy mystery called God can never be fully known but can sometimes be experienced through music.
Grace and peace,