O my Strength, I will sing praises to thee,
for thou, O God, art my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.
I love to sing! And, I love to join with other voices to sing of God’s steadfast love. When I was first introduced to the Let the Children Praise (LTCP) choir in 2015, it became immediately evident to me that this was a special place in which to create something beautiful and meaningful with other youth who have since become dear friends.
I believe that the music chosen for us to sing further enriches our experiences in seeking communion with God first and foremost, and with each other. Our director, Mr. Hawkins, masterfully selects music that embodies this purpose and he provides the caring support and guidance needed for us to learn the music on our own, and he trusts that we will. Indeed, we do!
For those few hours that we convene and rehearse at Fourth Baptist Church prior to our concerts, he also coaches us on technical and vocal methodology. It is from “Mr. H” that we learn The Four Pillars of Good Singing, along with the very best steps for learning our parts in the songs as we memorize them. I employ these methods whenever I sing; they are the backbone of a proficient approach to singing and I am grateful to have learned them in LTCP. I would be remiss if I did not mention Mrs. Hawkins, as well. It is her expertise as the piano accompanist for LTCP that brings the score to life alongside the choir.
Aside from our annual concert each January, we meet together again in the weeks following to share our music with the many sweet people who are residents at a local senior retirement center. This is a particular highlight for me as I have a close bond with my own grandparents and the elderly members within my congregation. In March or April, the LTCP choir resumes rehearsals once more and combines with the adult choir, Deo Cantamus of Minnesota, to participate with them in a concert entitled Agape. In blending Scripture, prayer and music, the Agape event blesses both the performers and those in attendance.
Through participation in LTCP, we have had the great privilege of meeting with and singing music written by contemporary sacred choral composers, notably Josh Bauder, Dan Forrest and Edwin M. Willmington. And, we've learned to sing music in languages other than English, specifically, German, Hebrew, Swahili, and Latin. This has allowed us to interpret the emotion and the message of a text that is expressed in a new way, and doing so not only expands our worldview, it is a welcome reminder, too, of how truly interconnected we are globally and spiritually.
It is my hope that many other young people will be inspired to take part in LTCP in the future, and discover for themselves the joy of this ministry and its transcending reach.