The History of the Choral Community at Holy Comforter
Choral singing has been one of the most visible forms of building a community through music. Whether singing in a church choir, school choir, or community chorus, the social interaction and community spirit that is developed by singing together is rarely surpassed. Many of us start off singing together for the first time in kindergarten and continue singing throughout our young academic live, grade school through college. When we are lucky enough to experience choral music in our religious lives, we discover how powerful music can be, transcending many boundaries and uniting sacred text with music. How many times does a familiar text take on new meaning and depth when experienced through music?
We have a strong history of choral music in our liturgies here at Holy Comforter. For many years, John F. Ohl served as choirmaster. A renowned musicologist who served on the musicology faculty at Northwestern University, Dr. Ohl was co-editor of Masterpieces of Music Before 1750: An Anthology of Musical Examples from Gregorian Chant to J. S. Bach. This textbook was first published in 1951 and served as a popular text for many students of music history, including myself. While early music had a very treasured place in the choral repertoire found in the liturgies at Holy Comforter during Dr. Ohl's tenure, our current choral repertoire extends to the late 20th century, encompassing a span of over 500 years.
If you asked a choir member today what is most meaningful to them about singing in the choir, you would find many answers. Several answers would naturally include the love of music and the love of singing. But, two of the more striking aspects of singing in the choir remain the sense of involvement in our liturgies and the sense of community developed by singing together. There are several photographs of the choir throughout the years that now hang in the choir room. I invite you all to come up and look at them and see if you recognize anyone. Several photographs lack dates, so you would be immensely helpful if you could help with providing that information.
Derek E. Nickels, DMA
Director of Music
Church of the Holy Comforter (Episcopal)
222 Kenilworth Avenue
Kenilworth, IL 60043
(847) 251-6120, Ext. 17