WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — More than 150 choir singers from across the nation filled St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral on Thursday with hymns of praise. They were there to participate in the annual, week-long King’s College Summer Choir Training Course sponsored by the Royal School of Church Music in America.
“The counting will be important here and I am going to get you to do that marking,” said Royal School of Church Music Director Andrew Reid. He helps blend the choir’s voices in what’s considered the great Anglican choral tradition. Choir singer Dawn Hunsdorfer from Church of the Holy Spirit in Harleysville, Montgomery County said “When we come we’re all individual voices and it’s our job and the director’s job to help us sing as one.”
The singers come from different walks of faith and age — from ten to 70 plus. “It’s really a blessing for me to be able to come together with all these different people and celebrate the gift of music,” said 18-year-old Ashley Boyle who is also a member of First Presbyterian Church in Evansville, Indiana. She plans to bring what she’s learned back home to the Midwest. “It gives me the opportunity to lead lots and lots of younger children.”
Before she and others share what they learn, they are providing choral services and free concerts to the greater Wilkes-Barre community. Participants believe their week-long concerts of spirituality are especially timely given recent world and national events.
Some of the hymns they rehearsed to perform reflect these troubled times. Choir singer Fred Becker is also the pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Wildwood, New Jersey. “We talk about God’s wrath against what we’re doing to each other which I think also speaks to the situation in the world today but ultimately it comes back around to our redemption in God’s grace and that’s a nice message right about now,” he said.
The choir services and concerts are happening daily through Sunday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral on South Franklin Street.
The remaining performances are as follows:
Fri, July 22: 5:30 p.m. Evensong
Sat, July 23: 9:00 p.m. Compline in Nave
Sun, July 24 8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist with Bishop Sean Rowe
3:00 p.m. Choral Evensong in Nave