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Topic: Easter (05/30/05)
TITLE: Easter in D.C.
By Shari Armstrong
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The tradition of the Brass Choir playing at Easter time had been around about as long as I had been alive. It was an honor to be invited to the Cathedral to play, not only for the afternoon concert, but to play during the service. All year we prepared for this day, by playing in church services all over the state. It was a real education seeing so many different churches, after growing up in a little country church. And now to be going to one of the largest in the country was going to be a real eye opener.
We arrived in D.C. Friday evening, after dinner we toured some of the monuments. They were awe-inspiring. As we wandered, the cherry blossoms filled the air and framed the monuments. They were larger than life, like a giant living postcard. Our wanderings eventually brought us to the Wall. As we walked, the respectful silence was almost overpowering. We returned to the hotel and I collapsed, exhausted but too excited to sleep well.
Saturday morning came too early and we left for our rehearsal at the Cathedral. I’d never seen pictures of the Cathedral before, so I didn’t know what to expect. To be honest, until I joined the Brass Choir, I didn’t even know we had a National Cathedral. As we drew closer, I was amazed by the craftsmanship that went into the tall towers and gothic architecture. Inside, the light streamed through both rose windows at either end and the many windows along each side, depicting various stories from the Bible. We met our host for the weekend, and he led us to the balcony, where we’d be playing in the morning service.
As we set up, one of the upper classmen pointed out one more window, that I hadn’t seen when we entered. It took my breath away. Instead of the bright hues that filled the other windows, this window had deep reds, blues, and black in large circles, with sparkles of white. It was the Space window. The swirl of red at the top had a piece of moon rock the Apollo 11 astronauts brought home with them imbedded in it. At the bottom, it read, “Is not God in the height of Heaven?” I had a hard time taking my eyes off it as we practiced.
Our first notes went out into the vast room, about the length of a football field. You not only heard the music fill the room, but you could feel it coming back at you seconds later. The music surrounded us. I had never before enjoyed a rehearsal that much. Before we moved to the main floor for the second half of our rehearsal, our guide pointed out a stone up in the archway above the door. It was a stone that had been dedicated by the Brass Choir that depicted the five instruments, surrounded by leaves of trees found on our campus. It was humbling to think something I was part of was a permanent part of this amazing place. Our rehearsal on the ground level was an impromptu concert for tourists wandering through the Cathedral. After the rehearsal we got another turn to be tourists.
The next morning, butterflies were in full flight. We arrived at the Cathedral, gathered our instruments and set up in the balcony and waited. People began to fill the seats to overflowing. Music began to fill the air, organ, choir, congregation and us. I had never been around that many Christians at one time. To hear all those voices raised in praise to God in honor of His Son’s resurrection was just a glimpse of what heaven will be like someday when all believers will be singing praises for eternity.
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