All God’s critters got a place in the choir
Some sing low and some sing higher,
Some sing out loud on a telephone wire,
Some just clap their hands, or paws,
Or anything they’ve got now.
This is the chorus to one of the 26 songs that the Andulhea Heritage Chorus, accompanied by the Hamburg Area Middle School Chorus “WINGS,” performed on Sunday during its 5th annual concert held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hamburg. However, this particular song, entitled “A Place in the Choir” and written by Bill Staines, embodies the atmosphere that Don Schilke, director of the chorus, created for the audience.
The music filled the room, echoing off of the walls, filling those in the pews with the essence of what music is all about – creating joy. It was impossible to not be moved by the cultivated voices of the soloists, the unity in the voices of the chorus members, and the excitement in the voices of the young children asked to be a part of this musical event.
In addition to the inclusion of the HAMS premier choir, the Andulhea Heritage Chorus welcomed local musicians Alyssa Schultz, a soloist and graduate of HAHS, and Cody Knight, assistant accompanist and junior at HAHS. Of Schultz and Knight, Schilke noted that they are “so talented,” with Schultz’s rendition of Ty Lacey and Steve Siler’s song “Not Too Far From Here” evoking much applause from the audience at its conclusion.
Narrated by Bruce Foster, the first half of the concert focused on “Songs of Hope,” where, despite Schilke often joking with the audience, causing much chuckling, there were quite a few sobering moments in this breathe-taking performance. Prior to performing “Why We Sing,” a song by Greg Gilpin, Schilke noted that “there is so much sadness” in the world, and music helps people get passed that sadness.
The first half also included a beautiful version of “It is Well with my Soul,” famously written by Horatio G. Spafford after losing all of his money and all four of his daughters in a series of disastrous events in his life.
Following a brief intermission, the Andulhea Heritage Chorus began the second half of the program entitled “Songs in Memoriam,” a series of songs dedicated to the events at Gettysburg. To unite the history behind the music with the music itself, James Hayney, accompanied by other re-enactors from the 2nd Pennsylvania Reserves Re-enactor Unit, gave the Gettysburg Address and spoke on his love of Pennsylvania, all in the character of Abraham Lincoln.
If interested in more information about the chorus, or if interested in becoming a member of this chorus, please contact Don Schilke.