Singing Through Adversity


As a musician and retired choral music instructor, I thought I knew what it meant to “sing from the heart.” When you are unable to sing, for whatever reason, you have a new perspective. In the past years with COVID-19 protocols and several deaths within our choir, it has been difficult to keep singing with a full and focused heart.
Lori Scott
At the beginning of 2020 we lost a dear couple who had been continually active in our choir and congregation at Concord Trinity UMC. They were snowbirds and were returning home from Florida and involved in a fatal car crash. The choir was asked to sing, “The Face of God” at the memorial service. Through tears, we kept singing. Little did we know at the memorial that we would not be able to sing again as a live choir until the next year. Strict COVID-19 safety measures were in place throughout St. Louis County. Our church went online for a full year. Our online services featured amazing singers with solos and small groups from the choir that kept singing.

In December 2020, 12 brave singers committed to doing a virtual choir production of “HOPE”. Most singers recorded from home in front of green screens, singing their individual parts, video recording their singing and listening to the music simultaneously through their headphones. Our media specialist, Katie Klein, spent countless hours creating our production. Even though we were singing separately, we kept singing-alone but “together.”

As restrictions eased, the choir returned to singing in the sanctuary with special “singing masks” in September 2021. What a thrill it was to sing as a group even though we still wore our masks. We celebrated at our service by singing, “I Choose Love.” Sadly, within a week one of our choir members passed away suddenly. At her family’s request, we kept singing with tears in our eyes once again. We dedicated the song, “Every Time I Think Of You” to her memory.

The word adversity means difficulties or misfortune. After enduring so many obstacles related to singing, we could easily have given up. However, a hymn entitled, “How Can I Keep From Singing” by Robert Lowry played in my head. “My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation. I hear the clear, though far off hymn that hails a new creation. No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging. Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?” 
Nothing was going to silence our choir. Even after all the losses, grief and sadness, the choir was able to perform “Peace” this past Christmas season. While there was masked singing, a sweet spirit flowed through the singers that was from heartfelt joy. 

The pure joy of singing to please God and worship him was evident. Singing through adversity gave us the satisfaction of experiencing a relationship with God and each other. The hymn, “How Can I Keep from Singing” closes with this final verse. “The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing! 
All things are mine since I am his! How Can I Keep From Singing?” May it be your prayer as a musician to have a “fountain ever springing” from within your heart. Even when facing demanding situations, remember the conditions of the heart will make your song fresh and renewed, especially if the song centers on Christ. 

Choral Resources
How Can I Keep From Singing? by Robert Lowery

The Face of God by Karen Drucker, Arranged by Mark Hayes Holmes Street Publishing (HSP1013-2) with Flute Obligato

I Choose Love by Mark A. Miller Chorister’s 
Guild Publishing (CGA1491) 

Every Time I Think of You by Ruth Schram, 
Lorenz Publishing (10/4713L-2) with Cello/Flute

Hope by Joel Raney (8831) Peace (9056) by Joel Raney 
Hope Publishing 

Our Production of “Peace”