by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, August 2014

“School’s out for summer!” Alice Cooper once screeched. Summer isn’t as long as it once was. It is August and teachers have been readying their classrooms since July. Stores have stocked folders, pens, paper, markers, Kleenex and all kinds of glue on aisles marked “back to school” since late May. Some students weren’t even out of their classrooms in May! It is enough to make even the most conservative educator don a Pink Floyd t-shirt and sing, “leave those kids alone.”

Alas, laments aside, all summer breaks must come to an end.  The words of the preacher in Ecclesiastes ring true, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” We need the shifts from lessons to leisure and back again. We need teachers and books. We need lessons that inspire creativity. We need new ideas embodied in wider skill sets. We needed summer, but we also need seasons of learning.

We are entering a new season of learning for the next few weeks as we are joined by Dr. David Keith, Dean of the Townsend School of Music. As you know by now, Cass DuCharme is away on sabbatical, enjoying a time of lesson and leisure both. This season is also a time of lessons and learning for our congregation. During this time, Dr. Keith will be taking us to school in many ways.

During this season, Dr. Keith will work with our choir on choral blend, intonation, and diction as he prepares them to lead in worship. Throughout the sabbatical, he will teach new choral anthems to the choir to expand their repertoire and challenge them vocally. Dr. Keith will also work with Cass in a practicum of choral conducting that will provide the bulk of the vocational discernment portion of Cass’ sabbatical. This is a grand opportunity for our choir and our Minister of Music and our church. Thank you, Dr. Keith, for your willingness. Class is in session.