All are welcome to join the music at Middlebury Congregational Church! Co-Ministers of Music Donna and David Obarowski lead our music program. Donna is the Choir Director and frequent soloist. David is the organist and performs from three other keyboards in the sanctuary as well!
This congregation has sung ancient chant, the latest hit praise songs, and everything in between. The choir sings music from every historical era and from all around the world. Members of our congregation from middle schoolers to retirees have led music in worship on piano, guitar, djembe, flute, saxophone, electric bass, violin … the list is very long!
Although we have suspended choir performances, including our handbell choir, during the pandemic, vocal and instrumental soloists from the congregation frequently share their talents virtually every week.
Most important at MCC is singing. We strive to harness the power of singing to evoke a spiritual, worshipful state. For most of Christianity’s two thousand year history, and for the thousands of years of Jewish heritage upon which many of our liturgical traditions are based, singing was taken for granted as one of the gifts of God for all of us. Anyone could sing; everyone sang!
Only recently, in the odd shift towards professionalism in music, has anyone begun to think they “can’t sing.” They think you have to be trained to sing, or that it requires “talent.” It’s just not true. Everyone can sing–everyone has “talent.” Everyone should sing! It’s good for you–good for your body, good for your mind, good for your spirit.
If these facts aren’t convincing enough to make you want to sing, God specifically instructs us to sing! Singing together has the power to bond us together as a group, to light up our souls as individuals, and thus to connect us with that which is holy in the world. Each Sunday, the whole congregation is offered opportunities to make that connection through participation in singing.
Because music at Middlebury Congregational Church is all about connection–to each other, to the lager church community around the world, to our own inner voices–we do a little of everything. The choir sings Bach, but also gospel songs, praise music, and folk songs from around the world. The congregation sings hymns, but also meditations from the Taize tradition, and contemporary responses. Members of the congregation and visitors are encouraged to participate in music as worship in any way they like:
The Adult Choir, led by Donna Obarowski, is open to everyone from High School and older. We rehearse Sunday mornings at 8:30 am before each service. The choir sings an anthem most weeks, and also sings invocations as well as responses to prayers and psalms. Regular weekly attendance is not mandatory; anytime you can come, you are welcome, even if it’s just once. No training is necessary–we’ll give you any help you need. Our singing is not so much about performing as it is providing leadership in worship through music. Donna teaches us to sing accurately, of course, but more importantly, she encourages us to sing well–and that means not necessarily technical expertise, but rather expressing the emotional truth of the music. Sharing worship, creating beauty, and having fun make singing an invaluable experience for us and for the congregation. If you want to sing, like to sing, or aren’t sure if you can sing, come give it a try and see how fulfilling it can be to make music with a group of smart, fun, enthusiastic singers like the MCC Adult Choir.
The Cherub Choir is the children’s choir, generally K-3, but any child who wants to sing will be welcomed warmly by Janine Sullivan-Wiley and Norma Solderberg, who lead them with love and passion. Like Donna, Janine and Norma are interested in the experience the singers have, making singing fun and expressive. When kids sing with enthusiasm, they can feel power of their own spirits to express beauty and influence for good, to share God with others and be confident as generous leaders.
Also, if you play an instrument or have confidence as a singer in a solo/duet/trio, Donna wants to hear from you! We love to hear members of the congregation lead music in worship in whatever way they have available to them. If you love to do it, please share that with us!
And, of course, every person in the congregation has opportunities to sing in worship every week. Hymns and a wide variety of other congregational songs are selected not only to reinforce the liturgical theme for the week, but also to provide the experience of singing as an act of worship for each of us. If you’re a shy singer, don’t worry: we’re here to share this experience together, not to put on a show. You probably sound great, but even if you’re not sure that you do, please share your voice with us!