Bill talks with Lisa Bond, director of music ministry, about how she and others have continued to provide worship music, and why choral music is especially risky in a pandemic world.

When Words Fail, Music Speaks

Bill: Hi friends, my name is Bill Evertsberg and I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church, and this is Doogie, my assistant minister, and I have a very special guest today, Lisa Bond, whom you know as our Minister of Music at Kenilworth Union Church.

Lisa I have a comment and a question for you today. My comment is, we the congregation owe you a huge debt of gratitude for the wonderful work that you’ve done. We have no idea how this music comes to our homes in virtual worship, so tell us a little bit about that. All I want to say is thank you, we think of you as a magician, so how does that all happen?

Lisa: Thank you for your kind words of support. None of this can happen without God’s glory. First and foremost, it happens with the help of Alyssa Bennett, and Miya Higashiyama, and Joel, and myself. We all take music from musicians, they’re making music in the bathroom or wherever they can record in a space that works and take selfie videos as they’re listening to a track. Once they make those music videos, they send them to us, and we edit them together. It is a very technological challenge and a painstaking process and something that I’ve had to learn is the pandemic has created an opportunity to become a TV producer.

Bill: Well we think of you as a magician. Well done good and faithful servant. It’s just so wonderful and we appreciate it so much. And so now my question, what’s the future of choral music in this pandemic world? What’s going to happen?

Lisa: In this pandemic world right now, it is not safe for people to sing in choirs. And the reason being because of the aerosol spray that happens when you sing or when you shout. Droplets fall to the ground, aerosols tend to hang in the air sometimes up to three hours. So for all of us to be in a room, singing together, it’s a slurry of aerosols and since we can have carriers of covid that we don’t even know about, it just can’t be done.

They’re doing research right now at Colorado State University and they’re doing research in the U.K. with different choirs and orchestras. They’re testing wind instruments, brass instruments, and they’re also using professional singers, and they sing into funnels, or scopes, or whatever they are, to try to measure the spray, and once we get the research from that and then it’s peer reviewed, hopefully we’ll have some more answers.

Bill: Well thank you. You’ve brought us some gifts here, right?

Lisa: The thing that—not one note of music ministry is possible without the grace of God, and we have such amazing children and youth and adults who are all a part, and I want to share a sign that Julia Dale made. Julia has been in Rejoice, youth choir, bell choir, and actually she sang the “Hallelujah” a couple weeks ago, and she loves crafts and art and she made this plaque that hangs in the music room.

And I’m grateful for it now, although every day I walk into the music room, I look at it and cry. But that’s because of all the people I miss, from Chancel Choir, Adult Bells, Cherubs, Chamber, Bambinos, Junior Bells, Youth Choir, Rejoice. And two of those choirs, Cherubs and Bambinos, just started this year, and they were really, really successful, and then we had to stop.

And also Bill, I’m surprising you with this. This is a hymn for this Sunday, and when words fail, music speaks. And it refers to the Holy Spirit connection that we receive through music and through each other. If you could read the verses one and three, and I’ll read two and four.

Bill: One of the greatest hymns in our hymnal.
“When in our music God is glorified,
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried,
Alleluia.”

Lisa: “How often making music we have found,
A new dimension in the world of sound,
As worship moved us to a more profound,
Alleluia.”

Bill: “So has the church in liturgy and song,
in faith and love through centuries of wrong,
born witness to the truth in every tongue,
Alleluia.”

Lisa: “Let every instrument be tuned for praise,
let all rejoice who have a voice to raise,
and may God give us faith to sing always,
Alleluia.”

Bill: Alleluia, amen. Thank you Lisa. Thank you, you’ll be in our prayers for your joy, and your gift, and your talent, and we’ll pray for your swift return as soon as it’s safe.

Lisa: We have hope that things will get back to the way that they were one day.

Bill: God bless you and God bless you all.