The Spirituals Choir opened its busy season in earnest this morning by participating in the Sunday service at the Chilmark Community Church. Sunlight streamed through the windows of the classic New England church, which was built on Middle Road in the late 19th century and moved to its current location on the Menemsha Crossroad in 1910.
Before the congregation’s children go off to Sunday school, they come to the front of the sanctuary to hear their own sermon. Choir director Jim Thomas gave this week’s sermon. The slaves were often considered “dumb,” he said, because they came from somewhere else and had dark skin. He spoke of how they learned to communicate with each other, often right under the masters’ noses, and he demonstrated a “talking drum” and other percussion instruments crafted by slaves from whatever materials they could find.
The spirituals we sang included “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” “Wasn’t That a Wide River,” “Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray,” “Climbing Up the Mountain,” and “Done Made My Vow.” Jim provided a little background on each song.
To close the service, the congregation joined us in “We Shall Overcome.”
This Tuesday, June 17, at 1 p.m., the Spirituals Choir gives a presentation at the Anchors (the Edgartown Council on Aging).
On Saturday, the 21st, we’ll be part of the annual Juneteenth celebration organized by the Martha’s Vineyard branch of the NAACP. That takes place at the First Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven and begins at 1 p.m.
See the 2014 Schedule tab above for our performance schedule.