~ Lynnea Fyksen
It’s a privilege to be invited to share my experience of being involved in the honors choir, “Let The Children Praise."
When Mr. Hawkins came to my school to speak to us about this choir during my elementary music class, I was definitely interested. At age 9 I already had a love for singing. I was required to audition so my music teacher had me sing My Country Tis of Thee in our church/school’s auditorium and send Mr. Hawkins the CD. I was thrilled when I received word that I was accepted.
Then came a large package in the mail containing a CD recording of the songs using a clarinet to follow along. A few of the songs were in foreign languages. This was a brand new challenge for me. Thankfully my piano teacher who also has choir in her background as well as a son in LTCP, came to my rescue. It was fun carpooling with friends and practicing Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten, which is a signature German song we sing each year. Even after this first year I was sure that I wanted to be in the choir again. The adult choir performs “Agape” each year, and LTCP is involved with a portion of the spring concert. That first year the composer was from out of state, and we had the opportunity to open up our home to host him during his stay.
My second year was even better - mostly because I knew what to expect, but also because the spring concert with the adult choir took place at Northwestern Bible College. It’s always exciting to reunite with friends made from the past year.
I would be remiss if I didn't share a couple more highlights from my many experiences. The January concert gives us a couple Friday night rehearsals and a full Saturday that I’ve come to think of as a mini retreat. Then we participate in the spring event where we venture off to a nearby senior living home and perform for the residents as well as spend time visiting afterwards. It’s good that we have this ministry, and they seem to really love us. Preceeding this performance we have a brief refresher practice and then carpool to the McDonald”s that’s located near Fourth Baptist Church. We go for a meal, but we also have happily entertained the staff as well as other customers with our music. Probably with much laughter and a tad off-key!
One year, maybe my third or fourth, after auditioning I got to sing a solo part which happened to be a Zambian song. I loved it! Each year I truly look forward to seeing the music choices, and each year it’s easier to learn my part. I’ve come to appreciate songs in other languages to the point that I chose a French song in another event and performed it this past January at the beginning of our LTCP concert. I have saved pretty much every piece of choir music from every performance. If I had to choose, one of my favorite songs was Song of the Rainbow.
It was impressive, to me, in the very beginning especially, that all the older kids had much experience and many stars after their name on the program. Now here I am, 15 and in my seventh year! I have to say that being a member of this choir has truly enriched and blessed my life as well as the lives of my family.
This won’t be complete without mentioning our director, Al Hawkins. Right from the beginning he made me feel comfortable and less worried about how we were going to pull it off. Although we are working hard during practices, he makes learning the music enjoyable. Whether you are a beginner singer or a seasoned teen, he makes it fun. He makes it all come together. He’s given me many helpful tips that help me improve my singing skills, including posture, breathing, and specific techniques that would be hard to describe in writing.
I am already looking forward to our spring performances. In truth, when it’s over, it’s always a bit sad until I remember there’s always next year and a new selection of music to sing.