Calvary Choir Welcomes Four New Singers

September 14, 2021

  Calvary Welcomes Four New Singers


   Prior to the pandemic, Pastor Anne and Dr. Farwig were both asked to apply for a grant given by the Lilly Endowment (the Lilly’s of pharmaceutical fame), which seeks to help various organizations thrive and, in our case, the Endowment offered a $5000 grant to a select group of pastors and music directors in an effort to enhance music in worship through a relationship with the Church Music Institute (CMI) in Dallas, Texas. Pastor Anne and David attended a CMI conference in 2019 and it was here they learned of this opportunity to become CMI Lilly Scholars. After applying, the good news arrived that Calvary was awarded this $5000 grant, and a project proposal would be created by Pastor Anne and David, which would then be funded by this grant. But first, they would need to complete two-week intensive graduate school classes on Congregational Song and Music and Worship offered through CMI in conjunction with Brite Divinity School of Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, TX. Then the pandemic hit. Everything went virtual, but Pastor Anne and David continued with their requirements and completed them online this last summer. Additionally, they participated in a year-long cohort made up of four pastor/church musician pairs from across the country that met virtually every month throughout 2020-2021 and participated in webinar panel discussions with CMI and the AGO (American Guild of Organists). With those items complete and with Calvary returning to having in-person worship with the choir, the project could finally be initiated.

   So, what is this project? After careful consideration, and bringing in congregational representatives, Anne Comstock, Carm Hammon, and Larry Davila to help with the process of applying for the Lilly grant, a project was proposed that would bring in four professional-level, paid singers who currently are not regularly involved in a church community and who would be a good fit in assisting the Calvary Choir for our program year 2021-22 (September – May). Their vocal and musical support would help the choir sing music that is varied, challenging, and more closely aligned to the Narrative Lectionary, which we are currently using for worship. Another key aspect of the project was that we would reach out – in accordance with our vision of being “Open to all, closed to none” – to singers who may otherwise not be welcome in churches that are not open and affirming.

   As David set up auditions, he actively sought out singers from colleges and other places. Four were selected: Lilli Bailey-Duran (alto/soprano), A. J. Wulf (bass/baritone), Sam Sherman (tenor), and a familiar person to Calvary who has assisted us before, Adrianne Fleming (soprano). They represent a wide range of musical and life experience. Sam and A. J. are both graduate students in choral conducting at the Lamont School of Music of the University of Denver and are openly a part of the LGBTQ community; Lilli is also a graduate of Lamont and completed her masters in voice last year; and Adrianne is a high school choir director and freelance singer, who is also a new mother to her one-year-old son, Nathaniel. Please say hello to Lilli, A.J., Sam, and Adrianne when you see them on Sundays!

  We are certain these singers will find Calvary to be a warm, welcoming place for them to explore their spirituality while assisting our choir and, at the same time, we will be helping them with a monthly stipend. Our hope is that they will continue with us to the end of our program year in 2022, but this can only happen with your continued financial support through our operating budget. With a goal of having Calvary match the $5000 grant to fund their stipends through May, we will be able to complete this project and, maybe even continue this model of outreach and support for our choir into the future.

   For more information about the Lilly grant and our project, please contact Dr. David Farwig, Pastor Anne Scalfaro, or Anne Comstock.