Crawford Street seeking choir members for Maundy Thursday program

Published 10:44 am Saturday, March 11, 2023

Crawford Street United Methodist Church is presenting a special Holy Week program and its organizers are hoping to see a lot of community interest with residents not only attending the program but some lending their voices to the choir for the production.

“The program is called ‘The Living Last Supper,’ and there’s a musical component to it where we have the choir singing and we have men who will portray the 12 Disciples and Jesus,” said organizer Robyn Lea.

“The Living Last Supper” will be presented on April 6 — Maundy, or Holy, Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter and commemorates Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist. Lea said the program is based on a musical and arrangements by composer Ruth Schram.

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One of the pieces the choir will sing during the program, is called, “Is It I?” Lea said. The piece involves monologues from disciples wondering whether they will be the one who will betray Jesus. The disciples will speak during pauses in the music, which resumes after the monologue is given. Each monologue, Lea said, ends with “Is it I?”

Some of the words in this song, Lea said, are, “Is it I who will deny him? We left the life we knew to follow him forsaking all to labor at his side. We left our homes and our families; we travel with him constantly. And now he says that one of us is going to betray him and that he will be denied.”

Lea said music for the production will be provided by the church’s Chancel Choir and singers from the area.

“We’re always looking for more people to get involved. We’ve had singers from all over the county, from different churches join us and we’re just trying to get the word out that we want people to come and join us,” she said.

“This is for the community. It’s not just for our church family and we hope other people will also attend,” Lea said. “We will be sharing in Communion, and as you probably know, in the Methodist Church, we believe that the Communion table is the Lord’s table. That it’s not the table of Crawford Street or the table of the United Methodist Church. That it’s the table of the Lord.”

Everyone, she said, will be welcome to share in communion as one body in Christ and one community in Vicksburg.

“So we are hoping to enlist some more people that want to come and sing with us,” Lea said.

Lea said there will be rehearsals March 23 and 30 with a dress rehearsal April 6, the day of the program. The church is in the process of getting the music to the choir members.

“What we are doing is emailing the audio files and then providing the music book to whoever wants to sing,” she said. “And that way they can be very familiar with this program before they ever come to rehearsal. It’s beautiful music, but it’s not really hard.”

Lea said the rehearsals on March 23 and 30 are optional for the choir. The dress rehearsal is the day of the program with the orchestra, “Then we will perform it just two hours after we rehearse it so it would be imperative that people attend the dress rehearsal.”

Lea said the church usually has a Maundy service, but the Living Last Supper will make the service more special.

“It’s a little different from what we’ve done before,” she said. “So we’re excited about it and we’ve had a great response. We’ve had a lot of people interested in attending the service. You know, they’re talking about coming and bringing their families. We’re going to have a nursery and all of that so people can come and bring their young children and they can go into the nursery. It will just be an hour-long program.

“It’s a good program for Maundy Thursday because it was the evening of the Last Supper.”

And while Crawford Street has done a living Last Supper before, Lea said, she believes it was last done several years ago.

“So it just seems like a good time this year. You know, we’re back in full swing. We’ve got COVID behind us and our church is 100 percent back in full swing so we decided it would be a good year to present this program to our community.”

Lea said anyone in the community is invited to join the choir.

“Give us a call at the church and let us know you’re interested and we’ll need people’s email address and we will get the book to them and email the audio file. Everyone is welcome.

“We would love to have anyone that’s interested in singing,” she said, adding that the choir has people who can’t read music, “but they can listen to the audio files and they can learn the words and then come and rehearse with us and they’ll be fine. If people want to come, we want them to come and join us. We want this to be a community program with lots of different denominations.”

She said the choir has a “pretty diverse group” of people participating and anyone who wants to participate can come.

“We would love to have other people.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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