choral music

The Bush Center

The African Children's Choir will perform tonight and tomorrow at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Portage, as part of its annual Pancake Dinner and Ash Wednesday service. Choir director Tina Sipp says the choir was founded over 30 years ago, and is the primary fundraising arm of the Music For Life Institute, which works to provide educational support to children from impoverished families. Sipp describes how working with the children in the choir gives her a new perspective on living in the present.


Martha and Bill Beverly of Kalamazoo at a Sacred Harp convention in Ireland last year
Martha Beverly

In a church choir, you know it’s unlikely that you’ll get to call the shots. The choir director picks which songs you sing and how you sing them. And if you’re not the best vocalist, you might be slowly - but politely - ushered out. But in individual homes across the country, people are holding more democratic singings where everyone is welcome. It’s called Sacred Harp singing


Rebecca Thiele, WMUK

At first, the Borgess Resounding Spirit Choir might seem a little unorganized. Choir members are constantly getting up to answer pagers and phones. There are days when some of them come in late and days when some can’t come at all. Choir director Jeffrey Spenner says it took some getting used to.

“I’m conducting doctors and nurses and they have other things that they can and should be thinking about at times," he says. "So now, it’s to the point where I hardly even notice if someone gets up and leaves because of what they do or a pager going off or a phone going off.”