HANCOCK COUNTY — The pianist plinks out, note by note, a section of the song for one part. First bass, then tenor, then alto, then soprano.
A singer here or there pencils a note in the margin of the sheet music — breathe here, hold out a note there.
Then, they sing that section of the song together. Instantly, simpler individual pieces come together with volume, depth and fullness.
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“I love it when it all comes together with a beautiful sound,” said Jeri Smith, one of the altos in the choir at Greenfield Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “Just being part of that … it’s payment, hearing it all come together.”
Several congregations will hear it all come together soon. As Christians celebrate Easter, some local choirs celebrate the season in song by presenting cantatas.
Greenfield Christian’s choir began tackling the more challenging parts of this year’s cantata, “Behold God’s Holy Lamb,” in February. Andy Truex, director of music at the church, said some pieces in the middle of the work have some tight harmonies, and at moments, it can be tricky to keep singing one’s own part while hearing another.
Those weeks of careful attention will culminate April 23, when the choir will join with Greenfield Community Orchestra to perform the cantata in one combined service at 10:45 a.m.
That culmination comes sooner at Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church of the Risen Christ. On Sunday, both vocal and handbell choirs at the church will present “The Day He Wore My Crown.”
Also on Sunday, vocalists at McCordsville United Methodist Church will present the cantata, “What Love Is This?”
Choir director Tim Murfin said the composition offers a fresh take on Easter music, while also including pieces of familiar hymns. For example, the cantata song “Crown Him the Lord of Life” blends with the hymn, “Crown Him with Many Crowns.”
About 20 voices make up the McCordsville choir; some will have solos. According to longtime church members, the choir has grown in recent years. In the year and a half Murfin’s been directing the choir, he’s been grateful to have enough voices to carry each part of the harmony.
“There’s a good mixture, and they all blend well,” Murfin said. “They amaze me — their talent.”
But Murfin is hoping those who come to the church Sunday will be more amazed by the subject than the singers. He said he chooses music thinking about what will bring the meaning home for the congregation, particularly the person who might attend only on Easter.
“What kind of music is going to lift them up?” he said. “You just hope it’s a blessing. I hope it makes an impact on them.”
Truex also hopes the songs song at his church will deliver a message.
“I hope it will be a good way for them to sort of experience the whole passion story,” Truex said. “I hope they can really take time to reflect and be moved emotionally and spiritually.”
McCordsville United Methodist Church, 6247 W. Broadway, at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The church choir will present “What Love Is This?”
Buck Creek Baptist Church, 135 S. Muessing, Indianapolis (Cumberland area), where a cantata is part of the service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Faith Baptist Church, 323 S. Washington St., Morristown, where a cantata is part of the service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church of the Risen Christ, 3179 N. Mt. Comfort Road, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The church’s vocal choir and handbell ringers will present “The Day He Wore My Crown.”
Greenfield Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 23 N. East St., at 10:45 a.m. April 23. The church choir and Greenfield Community Orchestra will present “Behold God’s Holy Lamb.”