Each Tuesday evening this fall, over 100 children and youth from the Mennonite Children’s Choir of Lancaster (MCCL) spread out to fill the parking lots of Blossom Hill Mennonite Church and Neffsville Mennonite Church with joyful song. Despite the current pandemic, these singers are driven by the power of music, community, and faith to carry on the organization’s mission of glorifying God through excellent choral music.

MCCL’s staff and board creatively reimagined the fall choral season in light of COVID-19. Committed to excellent and safe choral training, they rewrote curriculum, decreased choir sizes, moved rehearsals outside, added music staff, condensed the season, and designed singing masks (an amazing grandparent volunteer sewed more than 100 masks.)

Singers are preparing to share music with their families in a one-of-a-kind outdoor concert to be held on the turf field of Lancaster Mennonite School on November 15 (rain date November 14). Singers will perform choral selections featuring African drumming, body percussion, and sign language to prerecorded audio tracks—examples of the innovation shaping every detail of their season. Artistic director Rosemary Blessing reflects, “The pandemic is opening doors for creativity in holistic musical growth. This rewritten COVID-19 season curriculum is empowering singers, in deeper ways, to be stronger independent musicians when we return to traditional choral rehearsals.” The community will be able to view the performances online following the concert at www.mennonitechildrenschoir.org.

Begun in 1998 and a program of Lancaster Mennonite School, MCCL provides excellent choral training to singers from approximately 40 congregations, 30 schools, and 10 religious denominations and performs music from across time and around the world, often in other languages. During a typical season, the choir presents two local concert series, tours nationally or internationally, and participates in local service projects. MCCL celebrates the opportunity to sing together – outside and with masks – and to share music with the community!

-written by Elizabeth Masciale-Walmer (parent), Meredith Fisher (parent), and Maria Bowman (staff)