Tonight, Rachel will have her final Children’s Choir Concert. There will be more choir concerts but they won’t be children’s choir. In thinking about t his, a bit of melancholy invades my soul. There is a wonderful innocence and joy found in children’s choirs that you just don’t find anywhere else. Of course, most parents are also sitting there praying that it won’t be his/her child who has her dress pulling it up and down over her head or doing sign language over the heads of the other children.
It is no secret that neither Jonathan nor I have any musical ability or aptitude but it has been said that I can at least carry a tune and recognize that something is off! We wanted Rachel to have more music smarts than we do, and she seemed to respond to music from the time she was born. When she was about two, we enrolled her in Kindermusik with Ms. Annette (http://www.kindermusikwithmsannette.com/). I remember calling Ms. Annette and saying that my daughter had Down syndrome, had she worked with anyone else with Down syndrome? Her cheery response was “No but that’s no big deal. I am sure we will have a great time in class so please come!” Ms. Annette and Rachel went on to have a four-year Kindermusik experience and developed great affection for one another. Ms. Annette is definitely the kind of woman who will have many jewels in her crown.
Rachel has been in major children’s choir productions, simple songs from the preschoolers, joint ventures with adult and youth choirs, and even handbells (this may have been the cutest thing ever). From her first appearances in those venues, her smile was always shining and infecting even the grouchiest of souls. After every single choir program, someone seeks us out to tell us they love watching her sing because it is evident that she sings with pure joy. People have even sent emails to us via the pastoral staff because they didn’t know her or her parents but they wanted us to know that she touched their lives. Of course there is also the “thoughtful” person who says to me “It appears Rachel is high-functioning enough to sing in choirs for a long time.” To that I smile as I am biting my tongue in two because the sassysoutherngirl is thinking “I hope you are a high-functioning enough Christian to make it to heaven.” It’s a silly thought because of course we are saved by grace but still that sassy part of me is thinking it, and the other part of me is thankful that God managed to keep my mouth shut.
Rachel has been taught to sing out from her lungs and she does. And she is just a little off-key and a little behind and she always manages to stand next to a mic. Sometimes Jonathan and I find ourselves fidgeting and worrying about what people think and the Pastor finds me and says, “Watching your daughter sing was the best part of my day.” With that I am reminded of the greatest lesson I need to learn from children’s choirs: God loves Rachel even more than I do and has the greatest of plans for her life if I will just stay out of the way!
Note: The list of choir/music teachers who have impacted Rachel’s life and ours is far too long to list here. Special thanks to each of you for your devotion to children and music. It is a gift from above. God bless you!