The does not call Easter Sunday by that name, which is the most well known name for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. MOBC calls it “Resurrection Sunday,” and has services planned to help parishioners reflect on Christ’s sacrifices at the Calvary. Many other local churches are gearing up for reflective services this Sunday as well. And just as a preacher puts a great deal of thought into his sermons, choir leaders carefully select their songs. And everyone does it just a little differently.
"Music is the lubricant to worship, the wheel that drives our worship as we connect to God," said Envoy Chaka Watch, who will lead services this weekend at the Peekskill location.
Tuesday McDonald, the Minister of music at MOBC, explained that her church's Pastor Adolphus C. Lacey, Sr. started a two part sermon on love on Palm Sunday and this Sunday will be the second part. The MOBC choir will help drive the message of love with song.
"God wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must have love in our hearts. Our music on Sunday will reflect God's love and His sacrifice," McDonald said.“For us it is not a performance, it is all because we love God and we want to worship him through song."
McDonald will lead her approximately 50-member choir in singing “Holy Lamb of God” and “High on All the Earth,” this Sunday.
“We believe that Christ is all. I try to use songs that also allow us an opportunity to reflect on our life, as well as on the sacrifices that Christ made at the Calvary,” McDonald said.
MOBC’s Resurrection Sunday will consist of three masses, one 6 a.m. mass added especially for Easter, in addition to the regular 7:45 and 10:45 a.m. masses. McDonald explained that the 6 a.m. mass is held partly to remind people of Christ’s sacrifice.
“Even though it is no comparison to how Christ sacrificed his life for us, it is giving him the reverence and respect he deserves all day,” McDonald said.
A few miles away in Cortlandt, the choir will be singing several traditional hymns especially reserved for Easter. The Easter services will include “Jesus is Risen,” “Flow River Flow,” “Go Ye Into the World” and “In the Breaking of the Bread.”
“I go through bible and read readings and the scriptures and meditate and pick the songs,” said Joan Rojas, Holy Spirit’s choir director. “We mostly pick major works to sing on Easter.”
Rojas explained that she also chooses the choir music based on how many choir members are available to sing at the masses. Holy Spirit always has about 10 to 15 choir members at any given mass and has a total of about 35 in the choir.
Mohegan Lake's does it a little differently. They start their Easter morning with an Easter fire and the music starts with a second century chant and then moves into the traditional Easter hymns.
"Because without 'Jesus Chris is Risen Today,' it just ain't Easter," Rev. Claire Woodley-Aitchison, Rector of St. Mary's said.
St. Mary's will also have local musicians play at their service, with Fred Gillen Jr. singing a Tom Wait's song during the 9:30 service. At the 11 a.m. service soloist Sarah Ann Duffy will sing a Mozart Alleluia and flautist Elyse Knobloch will join the choir, led by music director Deborah Jones-Norberto. Rev. Woodley-Aitchison notes that leading the choir is "no small feat."
This Sunday, choirs will sing well-rehearsed and passionate hymns to remind hundreds in their congregations of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made when he was crucified and to celebrate his resurrection three days later.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church will hold Easter service at 9:30 and 11 a.m., as written above.
The Salvation Army will hold an Easter vigil service on Saturday at 6 p.m. and an Easter service on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Holy Spirit Catholic Church will hold Good Friday services at 3 and 7 p.m. today. It’s Easter Vigil mass will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday and the Easter Sunday services will be held at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Mount Olivet Baptist Church will hold Good Friday services at 3 p.m. today and Resurrection Sunday services are at 6 a.m. for one hour and 7:45 and 10:45 a.m. for an hour and a half.
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