As a child, I admired great singers. My mother would play opera and aria recordings for us children, and we would try to imitate them in our silly childish fashion. But we loved it. As I grew, I never lost the awe of listening to a beautiful voice, particularly the classically trained voice. There's something ethereal about beautiful voices. They have the ability to take people out of themselves and into a realm of pure aural bliss. When coupled with dramatic or meaningful texts, singing becomes an enthralling experience that captures the mind and emotions more than a book, play, or orchestral work. The power of a beautiful voice singing great music is indescribably wonderful. The power of multiple beautiful voices singing great choral works is just as stunning.
As I entered the realm of classical singing in college, I realized that my goal was not the same as that of other singers. I loved the beauty of the human voice because God created it for His pleasure and glory. If used in a fashion that does not bring Him glory, what is the point of singing? The beautiful voice becomes merely a vehicle for personal fulfillment and glory. I wanted more than that. I wanted to perform for the Lord, the One Who had given me my voice. Thus, I eagerly accepted every opportunity to perform oratorio works, whether in the chorus or singing a solo. I didn't care if I was in the spotlight or in the background: merely singing such great sacred works for my Lord Jesus was enough pleasure for me, particularly if I could sing them with other excellent voices. The lack of faith in God from my fellow professional singers-in-training grated on my spirit. I longed to sing great music with a group of believers, thereby worshiping the Lord corporately as well as personally.
In my first year as a doctoral student in vocal performance, one of my Christian singer friends introduced me to Deo Cantamus, a Minnesota chorale created and sustained to glorify God through song, and dedicated to a high standard of repertoire and vocal quality. This is what I had been looking for: an opportunity to sing high quality, classically-composed sacred works with a group of believers. My favorite aspect of Deo Cantamus is their sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Every single member of the chorale professes the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Every session begins and ends with prayer, usually said by a member of the chorus. Every performance is done for the glory of God, and at a high artistic level. What refreshment to my soul! Here was a noble cause to which to dedicate my voice and time. Here was a fellowship of believers I was blessed and proud to be a part of, and still am. I pray for this organization, that God will enable Deo Cantamus to continue its legacy of excellence and worship as the years go by. As Bach would say at the end of many of his works, Soli Deo Gloria!