Choir JAMmin’ with Mark Miller


One of my all-time favorite weekends during the schoolyear in the fall was Choir JAM weekend, from sixth grade until I graduated from high school. Now I don’t have a musically inclined bone in my body, but Ruth (my mom) can do just about whatever you need her to do — short of being a one-woman string quartet. She usually volunteers to be in charge of coordination efforts; only one of her many strong suits. Unfortunately, she didn’t pass any of this talent along to me, but she did bring in the coolest director I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. As I mentioned, I’m at home in Richmond for 10 days for my Thanksgiving break (praise be to private school!), so I thought, what better way to help kick off my break than by observing Choir JAM? (#DorkAlert)

I’ll be straight with you — I spent most of my time at each Choir JAM event scoping out cute tenors and slouching like I couldn’t have cared less. (How “cool” can you really look with a dorky nametag strapped around your neck and a folder full of church music propped up on your lap…?) When Mark Miller is the director, though… it’s hard to pretend you don’t care, no matter who you are. I’ve worked with Mark at at least one Choir JAM event prior to this weekend, as well as at least one summer camp at Lake Junaluska, NC. Check out this I’m-too-cool-for-school attitude from the last time I worked with Mark:

I know I’m babbling, but I’m gonna fill you in anyway. Mark Miller is one of the coolest musicians I’ve ever met, period. He’s from NYC, and he writes original four-part music. Even if you’re not interested in Christian music, I bet you’ve never heard a hymn like this 😉

He can also come up with solo pieces, piano accompaniment, and changes to the music on the spot. My favorite thing about Mark is his ability to make even the youngest, least confident singer in the room feel as though he is being heard. He’s a humble guy for all that he’s accomplished. Truly, I was honored to shake his hand last night.

This is how I know I’m getting old — I’m actually interested in listening to choirs practice. I’m pretty sure I can feel my boobs sagging as I write this… Nevertheless, I’m off for day two of Choir JAM ’12!


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