Chronicles of the Conference Choir–part 1


By S. Scott Mapes

Editor’s note: This is part one of a three-part perspective series featuring our outstanding Conference Choir. For parts 2 and 3, please visit our website at

Wed. June 12, 2019:

There would be no organ for the Annual Conference this year. This news might have been enough to cause a few choir members to faint, but to my knowledge no one did. Yet it wasn’t just the fact that the organ could not be played. Our beautiful West Virginia Wesleyan College keyboard and pedal instrument was physically gone from the sanctuary.

While this was fairly good news for the piano and the piano players, the extra space created by the organ’s absence would be an acoustical nightmare for the choir members. Because of this vacant region on the platform, the microphones were now able to pick up every small noise in front—especially the otherwise quiet conversations of the sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. That, in a word, is not good.

None of these non-medical organ concerns mattered, however, to the roomful of us singers who gathered for the first rehearsal under the direction of Craig Hinchman (St. Matthew’s in St. Albans) and Julie Janich (St. Mark’s in Charleston). As always, we first circled the music table to gather our pieces of music—17 in all—and then the practicing began in earnest. Actually, it began in Kresge and then went to the sanctuary. I know. Quite a stretch for a joke, right?

So while we rehearsed in the sanctuary, the enormity of the task began to sink in. We would start singing tomorrow as a key part of the worship services. For me, it is always a humbling privilege, and this fleeting prayer often streaks through my mind: dear Lord, please help us not to make too many embarrassing mistakes!

Go To Part 2