by Cass DuCharme        



Last week, the Jubilate Festival Singers completed their nineteenth annual tour. That's actually 19 January retreats and concerts, and 16 summer tours, but who's counting? Well, I guess I am. Speaking of counting, I did some number crunching this week and found out that throughout the years, 12 churches, 10 ministers of music, over 300 chaperones and bus drivers, and over 1200 youth have participated in Jubilate. We've also compiled over 350 hours of rehearsal time. Wow! That first year there were five churches with 86 participants total and we rehearsed for 10 hours.


Since that first retreat, the Youth Choir of Highland Hills has participated in every Jubilate January retreat and summer tour. Personally, I have been fortunate to attend each and every one of them myself. What a joy it has been to see our youth, and the youth of all the other churches, experience Jubilate.


Just think, most of the youth who participated in Jubilate this year weren't even born when we started it. However, they have grown up in faith communities that take the music of our faith seriously and they can't wait until they can be a part of sharing their faith and their music through Jubilate.


The concept of Jubilate is pretty simple. Get some small church youth choirs together to make up a large mass choir and sing some beautiful sacred music. However, the rewards we receive through this concept are always greater than we can imagine. Every year we see the Lord work through not only the participants but those who hear and experience the music.


Last week's Jubilate tour included a tour at the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. As we concluded the museum tour, one of the curators asked if we could sing before we left. Right there, in the middle of that historic place, we sang "Siyahamba" and "Christ Has Broken Down the Walls." We also had the opportunity to sing at AIDS Alabama, a church and neighborhood that houses and cares for AIDS patients. Talk about making memories. All of us who were there will never forget those experiences.


Most of you reading this have experienced Jubilate yourself. Whether you've been in the choir or the congregation, you've been able to be a part of it. I want to thank all of you who have supported us throughout the years with your presence and prayers. Special thanks to all of the chaperones and bus drivers. Each year finds new challenges and rewards. The long hours of rehearsal are well worth it when concert time comes around. Jubilate 19 was great and we're still counting. Get ready, because Jubilate 20 is right around the corner. Lord willing, you, our youth choir, and I will be able to be a part of that one too.