Gospel Choir makes joyful noise
By Pfc. Leah R. Burton
In an environment that can be harsh and unforgiving it's important to maintain uplifting connections, especially one's spiritual wealth; members of the Anaconda Gospel Choir do this by lifting their voices in praise and worship.
"It's no different than my home church. The choir helps usher in the spirit of God through praise and worship. Christians lifting their hands, singing, shouting and dancing before the Lord put the believer in the majestic presence of the almighty God," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Rutherford of the 4th Corps Materiel Management Center.
That relationship provides comfort in an uncertain, dangerous territory.
"When the mortars fall, I don't fear them. I know God will protect me. I don't worry about getting shot. I know that we're at war, but I have peace within me," said Staff Sgt. Bonita Wright, the choir secretary from 13th Corps Support Command's Special Troops Battalion.
The choir members have their own special reasons for getting involved.
Pfc. Harvey Gordon of the 299th Forward Support Battalion has been singing since he was 13 years old and joined the choir to continue to feel a Gospel Choir mak makes es jo joyful yful noise connection with his mother.
"Whenever I sing, I feel closer to home," Gordon said. "Being in the choir, practicing, going to church makes the time go faster. With all the stuff you go through in one week, going to church helps you breathe."
Inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant has said that the human body is like an automobile; as a result of the weekly bumps in the roads, people get thrown out of alignment. The choir serves for many of the members as their weekly wheel alignment to get them back on track for the next series of weekly struggles.
"It keeps me grounded. It's the only thing that keeps my sanity here. When I'm having a bad day, I come here and it all goes away," said Spc. Toccara Burgess of the 84th Engineer Battalion.
Often the fellowship is enough to recharge spiritual batteries.
"The choir is important to me, because it gives me a sense of purpose, of belonging," said Sgt. 1st Class Carolyn Evans of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion. "There's no greater joy than to see the glow on someone's face and hear them say how much your singing touched them. That's when you know you're doing what God has put you in this place, on this earth to do."
The members get a certain satisfaction from moving the church to praise and worship through song.
"No one wants to leave when practice is over. The spirit comes in and it's the sweetest place you'd ever want to be and we know that it's the spirit of the Lord," Rutherford said. "It makes my heart glad to know that what I am doing for the kingdom is changing Soldiers' lives every day so if it takes the right song to reach one Soldier, then it's all worth it."
To be a part of that fellowship, people can go to the regular choir rehearsal Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. in the Anaconda Chapel tent at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and Hawk Road or attend the 11:30 a.m. Gospel Service on Sundays at Sustainer Theater.
Pfc. Harvey Gordon of the 299th Forward Support Battalion breaks a sweat while dancing, singing and praising God during choir practice at the Anaconda Chapel tent June 4.
Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Land of the 8th Engineering Battalion plays the electric guitar.