It is not often we get people dancing in our sanctuary pews. Clapping, occasionally. Some small swaying, but in our traditional servies, we are, well traditional. Last night was a different story.
The Maryville College Concert Choir came to perform for us last night. From the minute the bus pulled into the parking lot, there was such a fun energy in the entire building. 50 college students and thier chaperones, directors, conductors, and assistants did exactly what we asked them to – -they made themselves at home. They wandered the halls in circles, getting lost between the dressing rooms on the second floor of the new building and the sanctuary and fellowship hall. They laughed. They ate comfort food. One young woman needed some quiet space and was found curled up on the floor of the children’s library with the stuffed giraffe. I may have given the chaperones directions to a place for adult beverages once the choir members were settled in thier host homes. Then they transformed – gone were the shorts and t-shirts, pajama bottoms and jeans. Instead we saw young adults in formal dress (concert dresses and tails!) gathering in fellowship hall — always singing. Everywhere we saw them, they were singing something. They were having fun, and so were we.
When the concert started, there was a woman in the front row of the audience who danced through the whole thing. I’m not sure the last time our pews had people dancing in them like that. The choir fed off of that energy, and the energy from other parts of the sanctuary that were out of my sightline and you could just see on their faces that they were having a blast. We were having a blast. What started as polite clapping from the audience was cheers by the end of the night.
Our church members were thanked multiple times for hsoting and being so gracious. We were told that we gave them one of the best receptions they have had in a long time, and some of the choir members asked when they could come back and sing again. Apparently, some of us are wondering the same thing. Here’s the thing – -we did what we do, we opened our doors and welcomed people into our church. Yes, it was not what we usually do, in that we don’t have a choir come every Friday night, but our host families were their normal selves, our congregation members were thier usual selves as well. We came and had fun with a group that had fun too. I’m grateful to them for coming and sharing thier musical gifts with us, and allowing us to share our hospitality with them.
Going back to my last post, my only dissappointment is that I did not get to spend more one on one time with any of the singers. I was not able to host any of the students, so my contact was limited. Yet today, I met a young woman who is considering seminary. I saw the extravert be intraverted for a minute, and am still haunted by the tears that I saw flow when the small group Off Kilter sang their rendention of Bono’s MLK. Those who write off young adults or scoff at college students, or think all they do is party and misbehave needed to come see these amazing young men and women. Their concert theme is “The Road not Taken.” I look forward to seeing where the road takes them, and hope it is back here one day.
(we took plenty of pictures, but I do not have them. When I get some, I will post them here!)