Singing with the IUCC Chancel Choir is not something taken lightly by its members, especially since this group is considered to be one of the foremost church chorales around. Thursday and Sunday morning rehearsals are intense, but not just because we are learning the notes and rhythms. Under the direction of Dr. John St. Marie, a significant amount of time is spent learning the spiritual meaning behind a piece, and each word’s meaning and nuance. Whether the text is in Latin, Spanish or gospel dialect, the passion and intent of the songwriter is meant to be heard.
In its history, this 60-member choir has done its share of holiday and seasonal concerts and has ministered in music at life’s milestone events of marriages, commissionings and funerals, as well as making home visits to console and comfort the terminally ill. It has also celebrated Thanksgiving in an interfaith worship service, combining voices with the University Synagogue choir, for over 25 years. The choir traditionally lends its support in fundraising activities of IUCC and has even shared its gift of music overseas, traveling to Italy and France on concert tours. Under the direction of Dr. St. Marie, who also has a career background in music therapy, the choir is currently working on a major project to create and make available CDs to the seriously ill and bereaved.
IUCC Music Ministry also places a high priority on educational opportunities. Area college students are offered paid internships in conducting, voice and hymnology. Special classes are periodically taught in music theory and, during the summer months, “Choir Lite” is offered for those who want to occasionally sing with the choir or who are unable to attend regular rehearsals. Spring and autumn retreats are held in anticipation of upcoming seasonal concerts and offer fellowship as well as concentrated studies of the music.