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Wedding Singer
By Michael Bauml

Recently I found myself in Saints Constantine and Helen Church dressed in a choir robe. Our Saint Luke choir had just finished singing for a wedding there. I was ecstatic because I felt we had never sounded better.

Our invitation to sing for the wedding came from a visitor to our parish who had worshipped at Divine Liturgy quite often. (She was also related to one of our singers.) We were very honored to accept herb gracious request to sing for her daughter’s wedding.

If anyone told me two years ago that I would sing at a wedding, I would have said they were crazy.

So how did this happen? Quite simply, I was asked if I would try to sing for our church services, so I took a chance. I was apprehensive because I never had any formal vocal training. Maria Vrame, our choir director, was very patient and worked many hours with me and several other neophytes like myself. Truthfully at this point, I don’t think that any of our choir members are in danger of being lured by a record contract. But with hard work we try to create a prayerful spirit to strengthen all worshippers in their faith. We are just ordinary people working together, getting to know one another, and caring about each other while trying to fashion something beautiful. I have had some casual relationships develop into deep friendships through my participation in choir. My fellow singers are really great persons. We have a lot of fun together and feel a sense of accomplishment when notes come together to produce liturgical music. More importantly we are praising God while we sing. A priest once told me that when you sing in church, you are actually praying twice.

If you are not a trained vocalist but like to sing, consider joining us in the choir loft. We can help you learn as you go. If you are willing to invest work and time into attending rehearsals, the result will be worth it.

Father Andrew once told me that when you sing in the choir, you are really practicing to sing in the Heavenly Choir. I really hope he’s right! If you don’t feel that you want to join us in the loft, please help by singing along - whether in the church nave or sanctuary. Remember to "Make a joyful noise to the Lord" Serve the Lord with Gladness! Come into His presence with singing!" Psalm 100:1,2

As a popular song said it so well, "Don’t worry that you’re not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing, sing a song." And if I can become a "Wedding Singer", so can you!

Now that I have hopefully inspired you to sing, please read the following excerpt from our Sunday Divine Liturgy book. The Orthodox Liturgy is always sung. The responses are given by specially trained cantors, choir directors, choirs or by the entire congregation. The ancient practice of the Church was that the entire congregation sang the responses. Singing in an Orthodox Church is considered prayer transformed into poetry and music. For this reason the Holy Fathers and Church Canons condemned the use of elaborate music or instrumental music in the Liturgy.

1.  You shall sing!
2.  You shall sing with your heart, with all your soul and with all your might!
3.  You shall sing fearlessly, ignoring the possible wondering glances of your
neighbors. They would like to sing with you if they had the nerve, and they will
sing with you if you continue!
4.  You shall sing joyfully, as it is written by the prophet Isaiah; ‘Sing, O heaven,
be joyful, earth and break forth into singing, O mountains’
5.  You shall sing reverently, for music is prayer!
6.  You shall not be afraid to sing, for although an individual may pray in prose or
 even in wordless silence, a congregation must sing!
7.  You shall not resist new melodies, for it is written in the book of Psalms ‘ O
sing unto the Lord a new song.’
8.  You shall not mumble the melody, but shall sing it out loud, even if with occasional
mistakes.
9.  You shall not hesitate to sing together with the trained chanters. They want you to
join them!
10. You shall not forget the words of the Psalmist: ‘I will sing unto the Lord as long as
I live!’
Add 11. YOU SHALL NOT DRAG!!!
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