Tuesday, November 24, 2009

together in unison...

We gathered to pay our respects...friends, neighbours and family...remembering a kind, thoughtful man who had touched the lives of many and will be missed. To us he was a neighbour...and until recently we would see him working on his yard or riding his bike. Those days are over.

The funeral was held in a Catholic church...with great acoustics...a wonderful place to make heavenly music. It has been used as a recording studio by choirs on many occasions...and we have attended concerts at this very venue. We noticed that all the songs were sung in unison at the funeral...and only the melody line was printed in their songbook. Since the songs were mostly unfamiliar to us...we towed the line and sang melody...just like the rest of the throng. Toward the end of the service, there were a few familiar hymns...and without giving it a thought, we broke into harmony. Elmer sings bass...I sing alto...and we don't really need notes...we just harmonize. The moment the funeral was over, the lady in front of us whipped around and asked us if we were from a choir. Well, no...but we grew up singing in choirs and in church...and at home. Well, she almost insisted that we go sign up for the choir. I was speechless for a bit...and then informed her that we don't actually attend this church. "Oh. Well you should convert...we need you in the choir." We laughed about that as we left.

It was a lovely tribute to a man whose time on earth was over...and we came together from all denominations in a Catholic church...and remembered Lambert...and sang in unison, songs of praise to our God. But is there some reason we can't sing harmony? I wonder.


  1. This is part of mennonite heritage I guess, sing harmony. We need to encourage our kids to keep it up - same thing over here in Europe!
    Greetings from Switzerland, Ute

  2. Are you asking if The Catholic Church doesn't sing harmony? The Church does allow harmony. That particular church must not have had the resources to teach or lead the singing. That was a very touching story. Blessings

  3. Love this post Judy. I attended a catholic funeral this last year and enjoyed singing along with the familiar songs and enjoyed the thoughts the priest shared. Dear and I sing harmony whenever we can at whatever church we are in. We've had that good ole harmony upbringing, too. Blessings.

  4. I always sing alto too and I never think about it. It is so Mennonite to sing harmony .. .so beautiful and I wonder how long it will be before it will be lost.
    I always appreciate a good strong soprano behind me. . .it makes for mini choirs.

  5. ...and we Mennonite Baptists sing harmony, too, even when it seems that the only other harmonizers in the huge congregation are in the team leading the worship. We're singing the same words for the same purpose in different tones that blend - maybe someone will hear and be encouraged.

  6. ...wish you were singing next to me. It all sounded lovely.

  7. Oh to sing and then to be invited...

    It always hurts when one member of our community or neighbor hood leaves this earthly place.
    We want to hold on just a bit longer.

  8. Ohh smile.. Judy, that is the funniest reason to convert from Protestant to Catholic - becasue they need your voice in the choir?? smile...
    I wonder why they don't sing harmony... just don't know how probably.

    Its always sad when someone we take for granted in our life is suddenly gone. I'm sorry your neighbourhood is changed.

  9. ...wish you were singing next to me. It all sounded lovely.

  10. Judy
    Greetings from Wales.Enjoyed your post,it was touching yet funny. Wales is known as the land of song so you would fit in well here. Oh and yes Catholics do sing harmony -and some of them sing very well too!

  11. Well Judy, I'd better comment on this one, since we saw each other after the funeral, and this was the church I attended during my growing up years. Yes, Catholics do sometimes sing harmony, but not like the Mennonites, who were taught to do it in much larger numbers (Bible school?). When I was a child, my father was in the church choir, up in the loft in back of the church. Likely that Lambert was also in it. They sang 4 part harmony. And in the school choir, in which we only practiced for Christmas, we sang some songs in harmony. But, like you noticed, the congregation as a whole, sings unison. My sister leads a choir with her guitar in another Catholic church, and there is some harmony, depending on who knows how to do it.
    Thank you for paying tribute to your neighbour, and my friends' father. Dairymary

  12. Judy my voice is so bad I don't sing at all.... I move my mouth and pretend, but to save the ears of all around me not a sound escapes my throat. My husband is even worse than I am! Once he had headphones on while he was listening to his music so only he could hear it. I was upstairs cleaning, and I started to hear him making a strange wailing noise. I got so scared as I thought he was crying, and I ran downstairs to ask him what was wrong. "Wrong?", he said, "There is nothing wrong -- I'm singing!"

    LOL! We still have a good laugh over that.

    Sorry you lost a good neighbor and friend!

  13. Thank you for all the thoughts on singing in the Catholic church. Thank you for coming to the funeral and supporting our family. The family loved to be together and sing together with Pake.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson