Hi. Many of you may know me as part of the choir, many more of you may know me as Elaine Rowe’s daughter – it’s hard to mistake that.
I joined the choir here when I was 10 years old, and it’s been a major part of my life ever since. It was and remains part of my identity that I am a chorister at Grace Church. I made some amazing friends here as a child, who I am still in contact with and some of whom I still sing with here.
I was trying to think of some good stories to tell and one of the ones I came up with was from the 2007 England trip the choir took. I remember when Sarah Hamilton, my sister and I evaded the lights out call – we managed to be somewhere else when they were rounding us up for a too early bed time – and we went into the chapel that we were allowed to practice in, and we took out our music and we practiced. Mrs. Graham found us – actually, I’m an adult now, I guess I’m allowed to call her Melva – Melva came in and found us, I don’t know, 45 minutes after lights out. I can just imagine what was going through her head. She’s looking at us (she had been very strict about this light out time) and she’s going they should be in their rooms. But they’re practicing. Can I send them to bed when they’re practicing? I’m not sure where else I would have found friends who would evade lights out with to practice.
Something I’ve taken out of the choir here is that I know everyone is on my side here. It’s an amazing community, and growing here and doing solos in the choir, or even just singing in the choir, I knew that even if I made a mistake and missed a solo or went really sharp or even just kind of dropped the end of the solo, everyone was on my side and it was ok to do that. It was great if I didn’t, but it was ok to do that because I knew that all of you were out there and you wanted me to well. That is something that I have taken with me out into life and given me confidence to do what I’m doing and talk to people and just know that people here and in most places, they want you to do well. That’s something I learned here. So, thank you all for that.
It also helped me when I went to University, I found other communities in other churches which I never would have reached out to if I hadn’t found such an amazing community here. I sang in the St. George Cathedral choir in Kingston, and then in the University of King’s College choir in Halifax, and it was amazing, and it sustained me. When I came back here, either over break or when I graduated and came back for good (maybe) I got re-enveloped into the choir. Sarah saw me sitting in the pews during the before-service rehearsal, and she came down and said, “you’re coming up here, you’re singing”, and I just got re-enveloped and it was amazing and exactly what I needed.
I don’t want to go on too long, so I’m going to say that this is an amazing community. It challenges me, it forgives my mistakes, and it always makes me feel loved and welcome, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.