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Devotion: #Blessed

NLC tenor, Tony Spain, shared this devotion with the choir prior to rehearsal on October 20, 2015. The title of this year's All Saints concert is "Blessed Are They."

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be “Blessed.” I think it was brought on by my recoiling anytime someone on Facebook ended a post with #blessed. 

“New promotion at work! #Blessed”

“Look at these pictures of our brand new house! #Blessed”

“Look at this cute thing my happy, healthy, well-provided-for kids did! #Blessed”

The new "blessed" language seems at odds to the beatitudes. Blessed are the poor, the meek, and those who mourn. The persecuted and the defamed? So which is it? 

Devotion: It's Only Words

This devotion comes from one of our long-time choir members, Tim Sheie. Tim shared this devotion at one of the first rehearsals of the new season, on September 22, 2015.

The Lord be with you. As we begin yet another busy season and new members introduce a few even-newer members, I’d like to  talk about communication – communication of the text of our music—but more importantly our communication with each other.

Devotion: "We Sing with Joy"

Kate Tripoli shared this devotion during rehearsal earlier this week (September 29, 2015). Kate is a soprano in the National Lutheran Choir.
 
A couple of rehearsals ago, as we were working on “How Great Are Thy Wonders,” David [Cherwien] made an offhand comment that the opening line, “We sing with joy” isn’t about some woman named Joy. And it made me think of Inside Out, the new Pixar movie from this summer. Inside Out is two stories in one. One story is about Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose parents move the family from Minnesota to California, uprooting her from her life and everything that defined her. The story inside that story is about Riley’s emotions, who appear as sort of people operating the control room of Riley’s mind. Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness…and Joy. Riley has always been known as the “happy girl,” because Joy has been unofficially in command of the other emotions, while Sadness gets put in a corner and isn’t allowed to touch anything. The upheaval in Riley's life caused by the move sends Joy and Sadness on a journey together throughout Riley’s entire inner being—her memories, her self-image, her subconscious—and gradually Joy realizes that Sadness is not something to keep locked up. Sadness and Joy have to work together to help Riley become a whole and healthy person, because it is Sadness that makes Joy truly powerful.

Caged Bird Indiegogo Campaign

On May 28th, we launched an online crowd-sourcing fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.com to produce a new, special release album, The Caged Bird Sings. In response to the overwhelming demand for a recording of the music from our concerts entitled, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," performed in Arizona and Minnesota in February 2015, this album was born.

Devotion: Telling the Story

Katherine Castille, a member of our soprano section and Choir Representative to the Board, shared this devotion with the choir prior to the final concert of our 2014-15 season. The choir gloriously sang Alexander Gretchaninoff's "Passion Week" at Zumbro Lutheran Church in Rochester, MN, as part of their 150th anniversary celebration.

The theme for our gala this year was “Telling the Story.” The invitation read, “Join us as we tell the story of the National Lutheran Choir -- and celebrate the story that the NLC tells.” So I’ve been thinking about stories lately, why they’re important, why we should tell them. Like songs, they’ve been used in pretty much every culture to entertain, teach and recount histories.   

Devotion: PASSION defined

Prior to our concert at the Basilica on April 30, NLC soprano section leader, Linda Armstrong, gave this devotion before the choir. 
 
Recently we heard some biographical information about Alexandre Gretchaninoff in our devotion time. Some … but not a lot. Because there isn’t a lot. I Googled Gretchaninoff and found about three paragraphs about his life and works.  I checked for books about him at Barnes and Noble…..no such thing.  There are many books about JS Bach, and he wrote passions on St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. John.  I can’t figure out why we don’t know more about Gretchaninoff and his life. 

Devotion: Embrace Silence

Last week's devotion, prior to rehearsal on April 21, 2015, was brought to the choir by NLC tenor section member, Ian Cook. Take a moment to read it, while life continues to hum around you.

I love silence.

As I’m sure many of you are aware by now, I am a very quiet person. Sure, I can talk a lot if the subject is right, but usually I’m content to sit back and listen… so if I haven’t said very much to you yet, don’t worry, it’s not because I don’t like you! You might just have to come talk to me, first. I have found that I learn so much more by listening than I do by talking. I’ve also learned that as soon as I open my mouth, my ears try very hard to close themselves, and I don’t want that to happen. And so I listen.

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