By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—For the first time ever, the BCM/D Chorale has been expanded to include any church member of any choir of any of the churches within the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
In years past, the chorale, comprised of mostly music ministers, was designed for music leaders to not only gather to rehearse and present concerts but also for fellowship and connection. But these leaders are now connecting in other venues, allowing for the expansion of the choir, shared Bill Archer, BCM/D’s missionary for music and worship.
The effort is the natural extension of a convention partnership with First Church, Laurel, Md., who a few years ago combined a number of church choirs to perform “John 3:16.”
“Now, all the benefit of the musical and spiritual training go directly to the choir members that sit in the choir every week,” Archer said, explaining that choir members can experience exciting musical growth and ministry opportunities.
“This is a great benefit, especially to our smaller churches, enabling them to expand their musical selections and having the joy of singing in a large choir setting,” he added.
Ultimately, Archer envisions a 100 plus-voice BCM/D Chorale partnering with a 30-piece BCM/D Jubilation Orchestra.
Individuals have three opportunities to participate, including a Worship Leading Choir Conference that was held on May 21 at First Church, Upper Marlboro, Md. The conference featured Dave Williamson, leader of the movement to build and sustain church choirs as worship leaders, relevant to worship in 2011. The featured music was LifeWay’s “Join to Sing,” which was arranged and orchestrated by Williamson.
Nominated for numerous Dove awards and winner of multiple Doves for “Musical of the Year,” Williamson has produced and arranged three gold records, denoting sales of over $500,000. He has written or arranged anthems, orchestrations, musicals and collections for virtually every major contemporary Christian music publisher.
The second opportunity, slated for Saturday, Sept. 10, is a concert, “Experiencing God…The Musical,” with Williamson directing and the Jubilation Orchestra accompanying. The performance and its rehearsal, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27 from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., will be held at Oak Grove Church in Bel Air, Md.This is the ten-year anniversary for the “Experiencing God…The Musical.”
“In the original recording, Williamson is the voice of the narrator! We didn’t know that when we started this. He’s been involved with this project since the beginning,” Archer said.
Thirdly, individuals can choose to lead worship during the opening Sunday night session of BCM/D’s annual meeting in November in Ocean City, Md., using the music from “Experiencing God…The Musical” and “Join to Sing” under the direction of Williamson.
Choirs, or individuals from churches who do not have choirs, may choose to participate in one, two, or all three of these opportunities. To learn more, contact Archer at [email protected]g or (443) 506-7096.