Choir draws various faiths through harmony

Created date

March 22nd, 2010

On Sunday mornings while the Catholic service is underway, behind the scenes the Brooksby Protestant Faith Choir cherishes its last moments of practice, working diligently toward perfect harmony. [caption id="attachment_8813" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Ted Good directs the Brooksby Protestant Faith Choir during a recent service. The choir was set to perform its fourth cantata for Palm Sunday."] When a note is missed, Theodore (Ted) Good, the choir s director and a longtime music teacher, holds up his hand, halting the music. The singers share a laugh and try again. He s demanding, but he s loving, says Dianne Van Nest, who lives at Brooksby and sings with the choir. We love singing for Ted; he brings out the best in all of us.

Gift to the community

For the past two and a half years, Good has set high expectations for the group, which sings two songs during each Sunday service in theBrooksby Village chapel. They sing an Introit, or short introductory song, and a longer anthem. Lois Krall, who also lives atBrooksby, provides piano accompaniment. They re just such a gift to the Protestant congregation, says Rev. Ann G. Abernethy, who leads theBrooksbyservices. On Palm Sunday, the choir expected to perform its fourth cantata, a series of songs that tell a story. Through about 20 minutes of song, the cantata Journey to the Cross describes Jesus welcome in Jerusalem and his betrayal. Richard (Dick) Thornburg, a former Methodist minister who lives atBrooksby, lauds Good s insistence upon precision. He says, The congregation responds 100%. It s just a great joy to worship here, adds Thornburg. The joy of music has contributed to the choir s growth, from fewer than 10 people to the current roster of 28, which includes three singers of Catholic faith. Together the group has matured in its sound and attracts audiences from various faiths. The wholeBrooksbycommunity has come to appreciate what the Protestant Choir does, Rev. Abernethy says.

Collective effort

The group gains much from its skilled leader and accompanist. Good taught instrumental music for 30 years, but since retiring has also taught and directed singing groups in Massachusetts. He played the piano as a child and now plays the flute, clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, and keyboard. One of my intentions when I started teaching was to be conversant in the instruments, Good says. In addition to leading the Protestant Choir, ' he sings with theBrooksbySingers and theBrooksbyGentlemen, a group he also started. Of the Protestant Choir, Good says the joy comes in part from finding that the perfect sum of our efforts is much greater than each individual voice alone. The group's sound is enriched with help from Krall, who has been playing the piano since she was 6 years old. Krall received her university degree in piano performance and taught private piano lessons for some time. She began studying the organ in the 1960s and played both instruments in her congregation in Wellesley, Mass. She continues to play both atBrooksby. I love accompanying, Krall says, adding that it was the one thing she really wanted to do as a student. In practice and performance, Krall and Good interact seamlessly, while the singers read their cues. Behind the scenes, the choir s five-member Music Committee collects and distributes the music to the group each week. On a recent morning in the natural sunlight of theBrooksbychapel, practice paid off as the choir performed a joyful version of My Lord, What a Mornin ! setting the tone for the remainder of the service. Many of the choir members lead an active lifestyle, with multiple hobbies, but for singer Beverly Johnson, participation in the choir tops her list. This is just inspiration; it keeps you going, she says.