Performing choir in nation's capital
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After a busy Christmas season that included performing at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center Festival of Lights lighting ceremonies, the Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C., is gearing up for another set of performances in the coming months. The choir, which has been performing since 1980, has participated in events that are unique because of the close proximity to the nation's capital.
"Our service is not just for the members," said Edwin Sapp, vice president of the choir's public relations. "It is for everyone in the area. We are trying to help them realize the Lord is real, and He loves every one of them."
With a purpose more than just creating beautiful music, the choir is a support to the missionary activities of the stakes and missions in the Washington, D.C., area, according to Brother Sapp.
"A lot of missionaries bring investigators to our performances, so everything we sing is a testimony," Brother Sapp said. "We are fulfilling our purpose, which is to be a missionary voice."
The performances scheduled outside of the regular Church meetings and activities have included many experiences in the Washington, D.C., area. Performances over the years have included singing in the White House and on the steps of the nation's capital, singing in the National Cathedral in the annual Interfaith Council of Washington, D.C., singing at the Washington Monument as well as singing for many national dignitaries and ambassadors to the United States.
The choir is local to the region, bringing in singers from around the area.
"We are not a mobile choir; we sing within our region," Brother Sapp said. "And we do a limited number of performances."
In order to participate in the choir, singers and musicians are selected after an audition. There are 85 members who come from approximately 50 Church units in the Maryland and Virginia regions of the Washington, D.C., area. Choir members volunteer their time and efforts, oftentimes travelling more than 100 miles for practice once a week. In addition to singing in the Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C., choir members are encouraged to participate in their local ward and stake choirs.
"The purpose is to be a missionary tool for the Church," Brother Sapp said. "It is a very special honor to be a part of the choir."