A note from the Rev. L. Michael Kelley upon his retirement:
My dear Dayspring Family,
As we were all reminded this past Sunday, we have been a part of each other’s lives for nearly four decades. (Thank you Jeff, for pointing that out) Admittedly, that does make me feel a little old, but when I think back, the past thirty-seven years doesn’t really seem that long.
Julie Morrison shared the story two weeks ago of one of her first visits to Dayspring, and the announcement of the impending birth of our son. I also recall vividly the gasp from the congregation on the morning Bert Lewis announced that our four-year-old son had broken both his legs in a freak home accident. I think of all the births, the baptisms, the marriages, and the deaths (both of my parents included) that we have all experienced. Longevity has made it possible for me to see children born of choir members, who grow into adulthood, have their own children, and then see them become adults, hopefully with every age and generation singing in one of our choirs!
The breadth of our musical offerings has been extensive, at the very least. From Broadway-style reviews and a fully staged musical to Olde World Madrigal Feastes. From several Christmas Fantasies (fully staged Christmas musicals) to Mission Magic Programs, Country/Western and 50’s Music. Then there are the European tours- six in total, two nationally distributed CDs, and performances of the greatest music ever written: Requiems by Fauré, Brahms, and Mozart, Oratorios like Handel’s Messiah and The Creation by Haydn, and numerous masses by Gounod, Mozart, Haydn, Charpentier, and more. All in all, a remarkable body of work, far exceeding the limitations of most church music ministries, and my pride in what we have offered, what we have built, is overwhelming.
Of course, this was nothing I did alone. It is because of the dedication and talent of those who have participated in the Music Ministry over the years. Additionally, the love and support received from the congregation and friends of Dayspring have given us the drive and desire to continue to reach higher and higher, trying to both expand our musical offerings, but also provide the absolute best worship music we can.
You’ve no doubt heard the Hans Christian Andersen quote, “Where words fail, music speaks.” Well I believe that could not be more true, and it is this universal appeal that has kept all of us in the Music Ministry focused and dedicated, both on the music, and on our place as worship leaders. Additionally, I have been privileged to work with the finest music staff ever assembled on a church staff. My thanks to Robert Mills, Julie Hackmann, JulieAnne Weissberg, Jackie Miller and Amanda Osman-Balzell, for their unending commitment and talent.
I am humbled to have been a part of something so special. On behalf of my wife, Michelle, and son, Christopher, I thank you for the love, support, and kindness you have shown us from day one. I will never be able to repay all you have given me, but I assure you, the people of Dayspring will forever remain in my heart. Thank you for a most remarkable thirty-seven years
My love to you always.
Click here to view Pastor Michael’s retirement video.
Meet our new Director of Music Ministries, David Schildkret.
Meet our new organist, Norman Jenson.
At Dayspring, we offer many ways to find, experience and express joy. From the tiniest Cherub Choir member, to the Celebration Singers, Dayspring Chorale, Bell Choirs and everyone in between, we understand, experience and express the joy in our souls. And there is a place for everyone in our Music Ministry. There are so many opportunities for you to experience that joy. Of course, listening is always good, but participating is even better! Regardless of your age or musical background, there is a place for you in the Music Ministry.
Cherub Choir: This choir is for ages two through Kindergarten. We meet in Room 201 from 6:00-6:30pm This choir is taught by Jackie Miller and Amanda Osman-Balzell.
The Dayspring Children’s Choir: This choir is for children in 1st through 6th grade. We meet in the Media Center (room 206 above the playground) from 6:00-6:45 p.m. This choir is taught by JulieAnne Weissberg.
The Dayspring Youth Choir: This choir is for 7th-12th graders. We meet in the Media Center from 6:45-7:30. This choir is taught by JulieAnne Weissberg.
The Celebration Singers: This energetic, multi-generational choir performs more contemporary, gospel inspired music during the 9:00 service. We rehearse from 6:30-7:30 in the Choir Room.
The Dayspring Chorale: This adult choir is recognized as one of the premier choral organizations in the valley and performs during the 10:30 service. We rehearse from 7:30-9:00 in the Choir Room.
Music is a vital part of Worship at Dayspring. Music can inspire and uplift. It can soothe and comfort. It can touch us in a way that nothing else can. Music is a gift from God that enables both participants and listeners to focus and be open to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Music provides an unique outreach extending far beyond our Sanctuary doors. Music is an exceptionally fulfilling way to serve the Lord, our church and each other.
We provide a wide variety of musical options for all ages. After examining the following music ministries, please give careful consideration to where you might be of best service. We are always happy to welcome those desiring to unite with our musical family.
(3 – 6 years)
Imprinted on the Choir Room wall is this phrase, “Music expresses the joy of the soul.” Needless to say, this has practically become a mantra for me. The church, of course, concerns itself with the relative “health” of our souls, and I believe that without joy, our work as music “ministers” is without real validity.
Victor Hugo wrote, “Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” Indeed, even without words or lyrics we have all had some emotional reaction to music. Additionally, in the church, we are often linking our music to the message, God’s Word for us, which can increase the emotional reaction two-fold or more. For some it is stronger than others, but I still believe that the power is universal.
Several people shared with me a segment of the television show 60 Minutes which aired twice over the past season. The story was about the Kinshasa Symphony Orchestra in the Congo. Begun by an unemployed man who neither played an instrument nor read music, the Kinshasa Symphony is truly a miracle. Learning first the piano, then the violin and other instruments, he created a vehicle where others like him could learn to play an instrument, enabling them to create something truly beautiful, enriching their lives and the lives of all who heard them. Ultimately expanding to include a Symphonic Chorus, they now perform works like “Carmina Burana” and Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.”
But the real miracle was not in the music that was created out of relative nothingness, but the joy it has brought the participants. One after another, the musicians shared their experiences, completely astonishing us with the hardships they endure to participate. One young woman must bring her three small children with her to all lessons and rehearsals. A pair of brothers walk a total of three hours through the worst possible conditions every day to make rehearsals. But it was not the sacrifices that made the greatest impression, but rather the joy visible on their faces as they talked about the orchestra and what it has meant to them. One young man could quote the date he began in the orchestra, even though it had been years. He shared that the start date for the orchestra was for him, like the day of his birth; the day his life truly began.
We live in a society where we are surrounded by music. From the grocery store to the gas station, popular tunes continually assault our senses, to the point that music in our lives becomes nothing more than background. But watching the 60 Minutes piece reminds us that the power of music is far greater than mere background. And at Dayspring, we offer many ways to find, experience and express the joy. From the tiniest Cherub Choir member, to the Celebration Singers, Dayspring Chorale, Bell Choirs and everyone in between, we understand, experience and express the joy in our souls. And there is a place for everyone in our Music Ministry.
There are so many opportunities for you to experience that joy. Of course, listening is always good, but please trust me, participating is even better! Regardless of your age or musical background, there is a place for you in the Music Ministry. Come find out how you can find the joy.
~Rev. Michael Kelley