Interested in music? Music Ministry might be for you!
"Music as a form of worship has always been the most meaningful to me," says Teresa Allen, Director of Music at Church in the Wildwood.
Teresa started her position as Music Director at Church in the Wildwood in July of 2021. She brings years of experience to the position, having developed and expanded numerous music ministries around the country with choral and handbell choirs, praise teams, drama teams and youth ministry. She holds an advanced certification in handbell conducting with the Handbell Musicians of America, and she loves empowering the people of Christ’s church to use their musical talents to worship God.
"My biggest joy is my work with the Handbell Choir. They're a tight-knit group, a kind of musical family."
Bringing people together to practice music as a form of worship has been a challenge during a pandemic. Yet despite having to provide virtual services and miss practices due to COVID-related closures, Teresa has already led her new musical family to greater heights. The handbell team performed to an enthusiastic congregation at Christmas, and continues to thrive under her tutelage.
Now, she's looking to expand.
At Church in the Wildwood, the handbell choir is a musical family.
With three octaves of handbells and eleven ringers, Teresa is blessed with a full bell choir, yet she would love to broaden the program to include a Youth Handbell Choir. "I've taught kids as young as second grade to read music and play the bells. Children of all abilities do very well with handbells. A purpose-driven group like this is great for kids who maybe don't feel like they belong."
Teresa also wants to start a Community Handbell Choir and a Senior Handbell Choir. "Music has the ability to create new pathways in the brain and is proven to boost cognition. In our later years, learning and practicing new skills is essential to creating those all-important new pathways in the brain. Music is wonderful for this."
Church in the Wildwood hopes to add Youth, Community, and Senior handbell teams.
The music program also includes a Celtic Worship team that performs Celtic-style hymns on select Sundays. So far, the Celtic 'band' includes guitar, flute, and drums. "If you can play an instrument - flute, oboe, trumpet - please, let us know," Teresa says. "Our guitarist also works with two of our vocalists to perform Bluegrass style hymns. We embrace creativity."
In addition to instrumental music, Church in the Wildwood also offers a vocal choir.
"If there's one thing I want people to know," Teresa says, "it's that our vocal choir is open to anyone who enjoys music as a form of worship. There is this misconception that to be in a choir you have to be a fabulous soloist. That's not true. If you can sing along with a melody, you can find a place here."
Music Director Teresa Allen is also the Church Organist at Church in the Wildwood.
Adding Depth to Worship
Music also has the power to add an element of depth to worship. "At a recent service," Teresa shares, "I performed an organ piece called, Out of the Depths, I Cry Out to You for the Postlude. I thought it appropriate considering what's happening in Ukraine, yet I wasn't prepared for the profound response it inspired. Many people came up to me after the service to tell me how deeply affected they were by the music.
"I later discovered the arrangement was written in 1918 by Max Drischner, a volunteer medic in World War I. He composed the piece as a way to cope with and process his wartime experiences.
"The direct translation of Drischner's title (from German) is I cry out to you in deep distress. I think people listening to the music could feel the depth of his pain because of what's happening in Ukraine. It's heart-breaking how relevant the song is today."
The Music Ministry at Church in the Wildwood is open to new members and welcomes new opportunities. If you have an interest in participating, Teresa would love to hear from you. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.