~ Elissa Johnson
Since my first year of participation when I was eight years old, Let the Children Praise has played a significant role in my life. It was in January of 2013 that I, the confident little 3rd grader that I was, stood up in front of a full audience and delivered my first-ever solo. I don’t remember being very nervous, and I definitely wish that I could recover that child-like confidence today!
Looking back on my Let the Children Praise experience brings many fond memories to mind. I have always looked forward to the day of the performance with eager excitement. I have to admit that, in my first few years of involvement, the hours of practice with the choir before the concert were not exactly what I most anticipated. Rather, the most fun part of the day, from my perspective, was the game time in the gym that we choir members enjoyed after a lunch of Subway sandwiches in the Fourth Baptist Church atrium.
Next to the gym time, the performance was the highlight of my day. In nervous anticipation, all of us choir members sat together in a small section of the auditorium, waiting for our part in the concert. Once the time came, we filed from the pews and took our places onstage, grinning and facing front with the bright stage lights in our eyes. A few of us, the ones with solos, were especially anxious.
After my first year, I slowly grew more nervous for solos, but the supportive environment of the choir encouraged me. I remember the hard thumping in my heart as my anxiety heightened in the minutes before my song. The first line of singing was always the most difficult, but after that, the notes flowed much more easily. The rush of relief following the solo made up for all previous nervousness. I sang through the rest of the performance with a light heart and a sense of
The many dedicated hours poured into our rehearsals taught us thoroughness and perseverance. We practiced until we couldn’t sing the music wrong. Mr. Hawkins’ legendary, “Perfect! Now let’s do it again.” spurred us on to perfection. Time taught us that, with practice, we could master some of the most difficult pieces of music, such as Bach’s German duet, Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten.
Now, after seven years of past participation, I look forward to the upcoming 2022 performance. I reflect on the impact that the choir has had on my life. The engaging atmosphere has planted in me a love of music, and more importantly, a love of the Creator of music. At the center of each piece that the choir performs is a desire to honor the Lord. That has been the goal of Let the Children Praise for years past, and I trust that it will continue to be its goal for years to come.