A friend and church member passed away this past April. He was a big, fun-loving guy, very active in our church, and even ran the soundboard for the CL7 a couple times. He knew he was dying, and able to help plan his own service, but then the pandemic came and we were unable to celebrate his life together in person. Our pastor orchestrated a wonderful memorial service, with videos from his family and friends, her own homily and prayers, and music from the church.
Our friend had asked that we sing at his service, and since we couldn’t physically do that, we and the family picked a song that we had sung in church and recorded previously. I think the lyrics are pretty good at painting a picture of the wonderful approach to life that our friend always exhibited, from before his diagnosis all the way to his passing. I hope you’ll enjoy it; it’s called Love Like I’m Leavin’.
We sang a few songs for family and friends at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian and had a little talk in the afternoon on March 4th this year. We wanted to celebrate them and thank them for all the support they give us throughout the year! We had a blast, and ended with a BBQ! What a great day!
This, the third and final month of our Pastor’s sabbatical, the CL7 again ran a Sunday morning service from start to end. This month, we did songs that mostly came from secular radio and lent themselves to a sacred reinterpretation. Music by The Wood’s Brothers, Carly Simon, Levon Helm, The Carpenters, Cat Stevens, Glen Campbell and Ronnie Milsap all had a spot in the service.
Here’s the YouTube playlist of many of the pieces:
We led an entire worship service at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, (our home church) this morning. All the interludes, responses, hymns, and anthems were songs either written by Bill and Gloria Gaither, or performed by one of the Gaither ensembles.
Here is a YouTube playlist of the full songs we sang:
We sang a great show yesterday at the nursing home, Augustana Hastings, and then we closed the season with two songs at BMPC with Noah Bauer, a young man from our congregation with an awesome bluesy voice, singing lead.
This Little Light of Mine/ She Loves Me Like a Rock
Twenty years ago, after a year and a half of singing at Bryn Mawr and informal gatherings, we sang at Friendship Village for an actual ‘paycheck’. Of course, as today, the money was really for a mission fund at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, but we still knew we were crossing a threshold into a new age for the group. We had just picked a name; before this concert we had simply been “The Bryn Mawr Men’s Chorus”. We chose “The Cedar Lake Seven”, because our church is on Cedar Lake Road and, although there were eight singers at the time, we liked the alliteration.
We put on jackets (if you book us today, don’t get your hopes up for the jackets!), pants with creases, and even combed our hair (if you book us today, don’t get your hopes up for me having any hair left to comb!)
The concert was wonderful; we love going to Friendship Village and have since been back many times. Afterwards, we were so pleased with ourselves that we posed around the poster that had been made with the check in hand.
I enjoy looking through the file folder of pictures and memorabilia from across the history of the CL7. The group is a wonderful blessing in my life, and seeing these old things is a great reminder of just how long I’ve been allowed to be, in the words of Bill Gaither, making music with my friends.
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area had formed a ‘sister’ relationship with the Trans-Danubian Reformed Churches of Hungary, and when a Hungarian delegation was visiting Bryn Mawr Presbyterian, the CL7 sang for them. That turned into an invitation to tour Hungary and perform six concerts in seven days at churches throughout the western half of the country.
Our hosts were wonderful, the countryside beautiful, the wine plentiful. I came to believe the National Animal of Hungary is the pig, because every meal had pork of some sort – hocks, hams, sausages. Each meal was better than the one before.
We sang for schools as well as for churches, and language proved to be no barrier. I think most everyone in understands a little English, and many have a much better grasp of grammar than we do.
One of our favorite memories is the concert at the school in Papa. We arrived and the large hall was cold and quiet as a tomb. We had met no one at the facility except the janitor who had let us in. We set up the equipment, and changed into our concert clothes. Still, no one. There we were, at five minutes before the concert, sitting in the empty hall, feeling sorry for ourselves, when suddenly a bell rang, the doors burst open and what felt like every teenager in Hungary poured into the place. The main floor filled, the balconies filled, the kids were excited – it was electric. At one point, I remember that John, our guitar/tenor, was aiming his guitar gun-like at the audience as if he was in a hair-metal band; well, a hair-metal band that plays gospel. Greg got interviewed for the local TV news.
All in all, a great trip. I hope we make it back someday!