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Barb Kromphardt

Living in harmony

Music and me go way back.

I went to a Lutheran school as a child. Back then they apparently had the students audition to be members of the Cherub Choir, and one day I came home from school all upset.

“They said I didn’t make it,” I told my folks.

So my folks asked me to sing a hymn, which I did, and then Dad talked to someone, and pretty soon I was with the rest of my classmates in the Cherub Choir.

I’ve always loved music, and I’ve always loved to sing.

Dad couldn’t wait until I graduated from eighth grade and was old enough to sing in the church choir. I guess my mom didn’t think too much of the idea of Dad joining the choir by himself, but it was all right for the two of us to attend.

My 20s passed without me doing much more than singing along with the radio, but my 30s brought children and more regular church attendance.

When our flock was still little, choir was too hard, especially since it would have left Dave with our four alone in the pew. (Although it would have been fine by me!)

I sang with a couple of special groups, but I didn’t become a regular choir member until we moved to Spring Valley in 1993.

We joined St. John’s in Peru, and I was in no hurry to join the choir. But October rolled around, and there was a special invitation for anyone to join, just for the Christmas cantata.

I joined, planning to quit after Christmas, and I’ve been there ever since.

I was happy with all the rest of the sopranos in the back row until the day our choir director asked me to sing a solo.

Me! Did I tell you how I didn’t make the cut for Cherub Choir?

But he insisted, so I trembled my way through a verse of “Beautiful Savior.” Beautiful it was not, but it gave me the confidence to start singing out. Not beautifully, perhaps, but generally tunefully.

About 10 years ago we were without a choir director. Other than one class in music theory in college, I didn’t know anything about directing, and my piano playing is two fingers, four if there aren’t any sharps or flats.

I offered to direct just long enough for the Christmas cantata, and that, as they say, was that.

I’m still there, choosing music, and directing and singing along with all four parts.

Now we are in the process of wrapping up our singing for the season. This will be my last season as director as time and events have called me to other opportunities.

I’m afraid I’m making the most of my “farewell tour,” and we’re singing all of my favorites. May 19 will be our last Sunday, and I’ve saved my best for last.

We have a wide range of talent in our choir – ranging from the sublime to the one-noters – but we all believe in the power of music.

So I’ll be singing out, wherever, whenever, I’m called to sing.

I’ll share my gift, as great or as small as it might be.

I’ll make my joyful noise, every chance I get.

And if you’re there and listening, I’ll be the one with the slightly flat high E.

Putnam County Record/Tonica News Managing Editor Barb Kromphardt, who is also a staff writer for the Bureau County Republican, can be reached at bkromphardt@tonicanews.com.

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