I found my voice in the church.
I did not grow up a singer. When I was younger, I played instruments – the piano and the saxophone. I always loved being a part of an ensemble, but I never thought I had it in me to sing. I knew I could carry a tune, but singing was scary and much more vulnerable.
I grew up in the Catholic Church and always had an appreciation for good sacred music. The church I attended had a great choir, and I accompanied on my saxophone all through middle and high school. Those choir practices reading music and transposing by sight were formative, both musically and spiritually.
I no longer attend the Catholic Church, and it is incredibly rare for me to pick up a saxophone. However, I happened to join a tiny church in college that totally changed my perspective on God and on sacred music. I was introduced to contemporary worship for the first time and I began to really know God and His Word. I was also asked to sing on the worship team. In that small community, I was given the gift of space to develop my voice and hear myself for the first time. I was also given the opportunity to lead the community in worship every week and, eventually, train up other singers and musicians in leading a congregation to God’s presence. For me, singing has been a deeply spiritual, endlessly challenging, dizzyingly gratifying experience.
After I graduated college with a music degree, I wasn’t sure where my career and life would take me. I tried teaching piano lessons and hated it, so I looked for other jobs. I wound up working in the financial services industry (and now have a job that I LOVE). When my path deviated from music I wondered where I would find my place to sing to God.
Enter Al Hawkins.
Al taught voice lessons and education classes when I was in college. He often gave feedback on my voice and was always encouraging. He tracked me down after college and asked if I wanted to join his group Deo Cantamus – we sing to God. I sang for the first time with Deo Cantamus in the fall of 2017 and absolutely fell in love. This is a wonderful community of people with real talent. I am blessed to be among such high-caliber singers twice a year.
Deo Cantamus is the musical home I need.