Church choir produces professional recording


November 17, 1997|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHAT DO Christian /pop singer Amy Grant and the Chancel Choir of Westminster United Methodist Church have in common? Answer: a passion for singing and a strong music ministry.

The Chancel Choir, directed by Richard Blanchard, added a dimension to its music ministry this year by producing a professional recording as an outreach to the church's shut-ins.

Over several Sundays, members voted for favorite songs on bulletin inserts. The results ranged from classical and contemporary songs to hymns and spirituals.

After months of practice, the church hired a company to bring in professional recording equipment for a session that lasted several hours. The church has produced 500 audiotapes and 500 compact discs that include familiar songs, including "Amazing Grace," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "The Lord's Prayer."

"It was so exciting. I had never done anything of that professional height. My adrenalin was definitely rushing," said choir member Janet Foote.

The 61-member choir includes teachers, school administrators, health care professionals, homemakers and retirees.

Joining the choir for the recording were: the Wesley Carillon, soloists Deborah Blanchard, Gary and Jennifer Mauck, Linda Wood and Rebecca Zimmerman; the Dynamites, Peggy Brengle, Ronnie Bohn and Gloria Honeff; and quartet singers Larry Bohn, Kyler Brengle, Mark Henze and Brian Lockard.

Andy Spang, a choir member who is a professional tuba soloist and instructor, arranged for instrumentalists to support the choir.

"We feel so good about the recording. It puts a lot of good fuzzies out there," Blanchard said. "We give the tape to aspiring new members. This is our way to reach out."

Richard Blanchard became music director at Westminster United Methodist Church in September 1995.

Organist Chris Warrington studied at the Peabody Institute. Laura Baker, who directs the bell choirs, is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory.

The finished recording is called "Given for You" and is available on compact disc for $12 or cassette for $8.

Profits will be used to fund future music ministry.

The Chancel Choir can be heard live every fourth Sunday of the month on radio station WTTR-AM (1470) in Westminster.

Information: 410-848-8325.

Two schools deemed best

Staff members, parents and students at Friendship Valley Elementary School in Westminster and Sandymount Elementary School in Finksburg have reason to boast.

The schools were selected as two of the best schools in the region by Baltimore magazine. Seventy-six schools from a pool of about 400 were recognized in the magazine's October issue.

"It is exciting to see that our school was selected. The decision has to be our dedication to the children and their learning success," said Norma Jean Swam, Sandymount assistant principal.

"Any time you are recognized, it is a treat for the teachers, children and parents who work so hard on a daily basis," said Curtis Schnorr, Friendship Valley principal.

Lisa Breslin's Central neighbors column appears every Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 11/17/97

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