No one really knows their part until they can sing it surrounded by the harmony of others. Yet, as Edgardo Colon-Emeric observes, many of us “want to join the hallelujah chorus in paradise but refuse to leave our ethnic section rehearsals on earth.”
As worshipers of the Triune God, we understand the beauty of three-part harmony. No two choirs are ever the same, because each benefit from the unique voices they include. The contrasts in color and texture give the ensemble life!
In the Ubuntu Choir for All People at UM Church for All People, we sing in many styles and languages, while remaining sensitive to the heart-songs of the participants. We try not appropriate or homogenize, but rather respect the culture of the song’s origin, to the best of our ability. Thus, we invite a ‘salad bowl’ rather than a ‘melting pot’ of diversity, highlighting the many voices of the body of Christ.
Our goal is to be accessible for all, while remaining challenging for those with music experience, so that we engage a variety of ability levels. To this end, we use music with layered complexity that offers simple melodies, supported by more complicated countermelodies and descants.
Every voice is important to the group, and therefore solos are rotated amongst anyone that wants one. Featured parts are tailored to an individual’s ability/vocal style and may include improvisatory solos over the chorus, solo introductions of the refrain, drums solos, or speaking parts.
And so, let us not hesitate "to leave the safety of the section rehearsal. Do not be afraid to submit to the baton of Christ. Do not put it off until heaven."