Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back and Fired up! Gospel Choir Retreat 2010

Ryan T - Michigan
Sophomore student @ WC
Choir Member & Publicity Manager 

The 24th anniversary of the Wheaton College Gospel Choir has already come and we're already six weeks into the year! Orientation busyness is over, Choir Auditions have passed, and just this passed weekend we completed our annual fall retreat. This past weekend was filled with hours of singing, learning new songs, fellowshipping, and praising God with Gladness and joy. 

Leaving Wheaton approximately 6pm friday, fifty-plus students left on a bus to travel out 45 minutes away to Glenwood School, where we'd be staying for the duration of the retreat. Glenwood is a school where boys and girls live sunday night till friday after noon; we arrived to their campus just hours after the children went home for the weekend. Tanya Egler, the Choir director used to be a house parent at Glenwood as thus through her we had the connection to use their facilities during the off ours of the weekend. 

Friday Night We spent time in worship and practice of the songs we learned previously in practice. We also welcomed our long time friend  Uncle Jeff! Uncle Jeff is Tanya's brother and Tiffany's uncle. We Call him Uncle Jeff be cause he's like our Uncle too! :D Uncle Jeff was the guest director for the weekend and as always he teaches songs with his signature passion, involving vigorous hand and body motions to conduct us "how to sing." With out fail he teaches all four parts of the harmony, singing soprano, alto, tenor and bass! One of the things he always stresses is, " sing like you mean it," therefore, project your voice. He also emphasizes opening your mouth wide for better diction, and most importantly sing the gospel like it is the Good news, that it is--it's all about the message of Jesus Christ! Not only does Uncle Jeff direct the choir he also teaches the ministry of step, which is similar to dancing, but it's origins come from Africa and slavery as a means of expression. During retreat some of the choir members learned a whole routine, filled with choreographed steps, claps, and stops, as well as biblical chants that flow with the rhythm.
Saturday we woke up, ate and began another day of practice and learning new songs. Later in the evening we had a family meeting in which we talked about our goal for choir as a whole as well as participated in some team building games, in that time we learned and shared some pretty cool ideas about community and the idea of using the choir as a tool for the kingdom of God. Following dinner that night we spent another time in worship and prayer, as well a time of communion with our prayer warriors--friends of gospel choir who pray for us through out the year. After Saturday's events we're refreshed and ready for the church service ahead of us.

Sunday we woke up bright and early, packed up and left to go to Batavia United Methodist Church of Illinois, to minister a selection of songs we had learned on the retreat. This is an annual event as it is the Church that Rodney Sisco (the director of the Office of Multicultural development) belongs to. We sung both services, and performed the step ministry in the second service. It was a great time! Both Tanya and Uncle Jeff pulled the best out of us and we all collectively enjoyed praising God though this rejoicing sound. After the service the church invited us the basement for lunch and afterward we loaded up to go back to Wheaton, in which we arrived around 3pm to follow a night of homework.  ;) 
Singing At Batavia

Uncle Jeff
Step Ministry Practice in Glenwood Gym

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