The Music Ministry began 2023 with an important mission – to increase communication and collaboration, both within our own ministry and with the whole congregation. In order to achieve this mission, we began a few key initiatives in January 2023. The first was to hold music planning meetings before each new ecclesiastical season. Pastor Kelly and all Music Ministry members were invited, and we discussed the messages planned for each week and how we could support those messages through music. Ellen Kingman, Janice Dumont, Jim Fennell, and Kelly Thibault attended all of these meetings and were joined in some meetings by Kevin Graves, Ed Clavette, and Michelle Langford. These meetings are something we as a group found very valuable, and we plan to continue them in 2024.
In the spirit of involving the whole congregation, Janice Dumont began holding monthly “Come and Sing” sessions once a month on Saturday afternoons in the sanctuary. Anyone interested in singing was invited to come and learn some new songs, be involved in deciding what songs the group wanted to sing in services and enjoy some fellowship, fun, and often baked goods. Over the course of the year, we probably had twenty different individuals join us at some point in time, even including a visitor to the church during one session. There was a core group of six to seven people who consistently attended the Come and Sing sessions, but we never knew who might join us to sing on Sundays! This group is fondly known as the Oldtown Singers – encouraging us to think of ourselves as people who love to sing rather than a choir. Anyone is always welcome to come to a Come and Sing session or to join us singing on a Sunday. This is another initiative that we plan to continue in 2024. In fact, we also plan to add a monthly “after church” Oldtown Singers rehearsal in addition to the monthly Come and Sing.
Our ministry and the entire congregation were also blessed during 2023 with the talents of individual musicians performing by themselves or in duets, trios, and fun, collaborative groups. We enjoyed Edi Diaz playing the harmonica, Ed Clavette and Michelle singing “O Holy Night” on Christmas Eve, Kait and Dominic Russo playing guitar and banjo on various occasions, including “I’ll Fly Away” with piano and the Oldtown Singers joining in, Joe Marshall, who regularly attends the Come and Sings, and is one of our most enthusiastic Oldtown Singers, Jim and Megan Fennell making a joyful noise during most services with both well-known and new musical selections, and Ellen Kingman and Janice Dumont playing organ and piano each week during our services. There have been many others who have joined us in song at some point, and each and every member of the congregation is a part of our ministry in some way.
It is worth reminding our congregation that not only are we blessed that all of our musicians share their passion and talent with us regularly, but we are fortunate that they do so as volunteers. The time that these individuals spend rehearsing and performing is truly a labor of love.
During 2023, we had young and old join in singing and sometimes even dancing in the aisles when we sang “We Are Walking!” It has truly been a year of celebration and worship through music. Our ministry hopes that 2024 will see even more collaborative music filling our church. We encourage anyone with musical talent or a love of music to join us in whatever capacity they choose! Anyone who is interested is always welcome and encouraged to contact any member of the Music Ministry about getting involved. Or come anytime to a Come and Sing! You don’t need to read music. You don’t need to have a trained voice or play a musical instrument. God welcomes everyone, and so does our ministry!
~ Respectfully and joyfully submitted by Janice Dumont
~ on behalf of the Oldtown Music Ministry