By Bill Yost
A month after my marriage 39 years ago, my in-laws said that they had found a church with a great choir. The following Sunday, I came to WPC for the first service and heard an outstanding youth choir, but no chancel choir. During coffee hour, I heard the chancel choir warming up around the corner from the fellowship hall, so I went exploring. While standing in the hall outside the old choir room, a lovely lady came out, said her name was Juanita (Harrison), and asked if I sang in a choir. When I said “yes,” she asked if I would like to sing with them. “Sure,” I said, so she took me in, introduced me to her husband, Rodney, and I sang with the choir during the second service.
I say all this because I have been involved with the music program literally since the first time I walked through the doors here at WPC. Since then, there have been many changes in the church: several choir directors, many senior and associate pastors, four organists and one pipe organ.
The organ has been refurbished twice in my tenure, both times receiving significant upgrades thanks to very generous anonymous gifts. It also has a digital recorder. Our organist, Steve Jacoby, could play Sunday’s hymns during the week, record them and then just hit a button to save them. It wouldn’t be an audio recording of the music; rather, it would transform our organ into a player pipe organ. Our pipe organ would cost well over $1 million to replace.
At the same time, we have added grand pianos to the chapel and the sanctuary. The chapel piano was donated, and the sanctuary piano was paid for through a special fundraising campaign. We have five octaves of hand bells, all of them purchased through donations from individuals and church groups. The donor for each bell is listed on a label inside each handle. The big bell I ring in the back row weighs a little over 8 pounds and would cost around $2,500 to replace, so I am pretty careful with it.
With the exception of the hand bells, our main instruments need maintenance and tuning. The organ gets a thorough inspection and tune-up twice a year, at a cost of slightly over $1,000 per visit. The chapel, sanctuary and choir room pianos get tuned up a few times a year, at a cost of about $60 per visit per piano. If you have been close to those pianos, you might notice an electric cord hanging down. They are not player pianos! These instruments have humidifiers installed to help them stay in tune.
Your offerings are used in many areas, and the music program is one of them. The music program budget covers many things, among them:
1. Tuning and maintenance of the pianos and organ.
2. New music for the choirs.
3. Instrumentalists for special programs such as Easter, Christmas and major choir presentations.
3. Materials for Choir Plus.
4. Hiring of supplemental music majors from Capital University to fill out sections of the choir.
We have been blessed with many talented musicians who have shared their gifts in worship. We have been blessed to find great organists and directors. Music Director David Rives helps us present our anthems by interpreting the words and providing some history on many of the composers so that we understand what they are trying to express. We hope the music enhances your time here in worship and fellowship.