by Jessica Langdon
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Long before the soul-lifting songs even start, it’s hard to miss the notes of excitement in choir members’ voices.
The renowned Our Lady & St. Rose Choir in Kansas City, Kan., is tuning up for its annual fall gospel concert — “Give Yourself Continually to Prayer and the Ministry of the Word” — at 3 p.m. on Sept. 30.
Choir members give the gift of song year-round, but the fall concert is a favorite for many — and this opportunity comes just once a year, said soprano Barbara Bailey.
Tenor Davilyn Dobbs found the spirited music to be contagious.
“I joined the OLSR choir because I wanted to join in with the lovely singing I heard each Sunday,” said Dobbs. “My experience singing has been wonderful and uplifting.”
Mechael Thornton has been singing alto with the choir for more than 13 years.
“There is nothing more gratifying and pleasing than singing praises and glorifying Our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Thornton.
The choir members pour their hearts and souls into their music, and it shows.
“Although the concerts are hard work, they turn out wonderful in the end,” said tenor Gretta Kelsey, a relative newcomer with seven years in the choir.
Even close to 20 years doesn’t touch the longest service to the choir.
“Eighteen years in the choir doesn’t seem that long compared to some of the other members of our choir, but I’ve enjoyed every year,” said soprano Rochelle Chandler.
Several members have proudly put in more than three decades.
“As one of the original choir members, I believe that singing in the choir encourages the congregation to sing and make a joyful sound to the Lord,” said tenor Leonard Johnson. “Every time I sing, I feel like I have prayed twice to the Lord.”
LaLeta Jones has accompanied the voices on the piano since 1976.
“May God continue to bless me to play the piano in thanksgiving of his goodness and bountiful blessings,” she said.
Guitarist Robert Easterwood, drummer Raymond Franklin II, organist Charles Whiters, and the Heritage Dance Ministry perform as guests of the choir. At the Sept. 30 concert, they will be joined by soprano Amy Schroeder from Holy Cross Parish in Overland Park.
“I truly believe that God uses all kinds of different avenues to draw you into a deeper relationship with him,” said Schroeder. “Having the opportunity to learn true gospel music from such a talented group has definitely strengthened my walk with Christ.”