An End of the Year Perspective

Our church year is coming to an end amid a series of expected and unexpected changes and adjustments. In August, when the Northwest Music Ministry began our journey we experienced growth on several levels. 

  • Northwest Passage officially came under the creative leadership of Jim Pearce. 
  • Traci Montgomery contributed both her guitar and vocal skills to Northwest Passage as Stephanie Bullard returned to Atlanta to recommit her vocal gift to the ensemble. 
  • The Northwest choir adopted the name, Voices of Northwest and welcomed the addition of David and Kat Benoy, Larry Helferich and Dail Edwards. 
  • Choir member, piano teacher and visual artist, Sally Mitchell consented to share her tasteful piano artistry with the congregation along with Jim Pearce and Edward Lawrence. 

The untimely death of Voices of Northwest choir member Robert Thacker was a shock from which we are slowly recovering. Bob was a light to the ensemble and a true servant of and ambassador for the success of the choir.  There are so many wonderful memories of his smile and performance enthusiasm. His clever wit continually caught me off-guard during rehearsals as we all burst into collective laughter…or groans. Bob Thacker’s spirit and presence will certainly be missed.

Because of the growing national concerns of the Corona virus pandemic we were required to adjust our music programming and submit to a virtual presence format. In early March we skeptically chose to cancel weekly Voices of Northwest rehearsals and discovered that it was indeed an absolute health necessity to do so. To our dismay the cancellation of Sunday services caused Northwest Passage rehearsals and participation to be put on hold indefinitely. 

With Zoom services in place we decided to utilize the vocal and piano talents of the Voices of Northwest and various talented youth to fill the music portions of each Sunday service. Jim Pearce and Sally Mitchell recorded various piano pieces while Jim, our congregation and choir accompanist, recorded multiple accompaniment tracks of standard hymns for various singers who performed from home. In addition, Traci Montgomery graciously shared varied songs with her guitar. 

Since my service agreement as Director of Music and Choir Director ends in June I needed to pre-schedule hymns and soloists for Summer Zoom services. With piano works previously recorded for use in the summer when needed, Jim Pearce and I collaborated on preparing Summer accompaniment tracks for assigned soloists whom we scheduled for services through August 9.

Finally, we thank you Northwest community for your ongoing support and words of affirmation throughout the past ten months. We bid an optimistic short term farewell to Jim Pearce with the hope that he will be able to return once the COVID-19 pandemic and the budget permit. It is our sincere hope that each of you remain safe, healthy and in good spirits throughout the summer.

Amen and Ashay!