I am a professional singer for a really nice church in Brooklyn. I have been there since February 2008. It's a great church, not only because of the music, but because of the people that attend. The congregation is REALLY diverse; there are gay and straight couples, different races of people, mixed socioeconomic classes, you name it! What I love about it is that everyone has a unique story and a unique way about themselves. And lately, we've been drawing a crowd wider than our own vicinity. We recently had a talk about the transition team with President Obama that a few of our members talked about and participated in. We also had a dinner that celebrated the police in our neighborhoods. We drew a lot of press for those events.
Not only do I sing for their services in our choir, I also participate in the children's church. Children's Church is a service within a service; a service for the children that starts out with music and breaks out into groups for talking about the bible and reflection. I help with the music part in the beginning. For someone that has absolutely NO experience with children, it was hard at first for me to get used to it. Children's attention spans are so short, you really have to do a lot to keep them interested! And what I think they might enjoy ends up being too complicated or too boring. But it has been fun figuring out how to make them interested. They have gotten more warmed up to me and now get really excited to see me! Children can be so fun to be around. I think what's fun about it is that in order to please them, you have to put yourself in their shoes. They can't be put in your shoes. You really have to think back to when you were a child and what made you happy. Then, you can come up with interesting things. Otherwise, they will zone out. It definitely has been a learning experience.
Singing in the choir has also been an amazing time for me. Before, I was looking for a church home the entire time I was in NYC, ever since the beginning of college, and I never found one until now. That was for about 5 years! I mostly missed being in a choir. I grew up in the church in Durham NC. I had been singing in a church choir since I was 5 years old. So to not be singing in a choir during college was really difficult for me. I had no real outlet for church and I LOVE singing gospel music. When I learned that my church was looking for more singers, I immediately jumped to the occasion. Once I visited the church and listened to the choir, I felt at home. They were singing the kind of music that I like to hear. And they were singing very diverse kinds of music, some classical, some gospel, some in between. I hadn't found another gospel choir in NYC that really sang gospel. NYC gospel choirs to me are more stoic and opera-like. My choir can SANG! So it truly has been a blessing for me to not only be able to sing gospel, but to be a part of such a loving church family. And they love me there too, which is great!