On September 30 – October 2, 2022, seventy (70) youth from the Eastern Territory gathered for Singing Stars. This attendance was the largest to date for this event. Led by the Music Department with support by the Eastern Territory Staff Songsters (ETSS) is a very focused weekend of mass choral singing, vocal workshops, and worship. It is made up of youth from across the Eastern Territory who are involved in divisional youth choruses and their corps’ songster brigades. The setting for this weekend was Star Lake Conference Center, which was alive with the colors of fall.
Our Bible guest was Lt. Tabitha Swires who kept us rooted and grounded in the Word. The mass chorus was led by our own ETSS Songster Leader, Erik Jones, Divisional Music Director for the Empire (New York State) Division and Deputy Songsters Leader Lily Finikin, Assistant Divisional Music & Creative Arts Director for the Great New York Division.
The music selected was challenging, but after a few rehearsals the group came together. The range of music included selections of “The Day Of Victory’s Coming” (Ivor Bosanko) a classic “Jesus, the Name High Over All” (Wesley/Smith) to “Come Alive” (Pasek/Paul) from The Greatest Showman. It was great to not only watch the students concentrate on the music, but to hear the voices blend into rich sound during these rehearsals.
On Saturday evening we gathered at the lodge where the New York University A Capella Group presented a wonderful performance. Their voice talents were outstanding, and they invited members of the audience to give them favorite songs to perform. One of the students of the Singing Stars group was invited to sing with the group which was a highlight of the evening. A time of fellowship followed the performance and great sharing between the groups.
On Sunday morning we held our own worship service at Star Lake. It was an intimate time of testimonials – young people sharing their joys, struggles, their service to others, and their hopes for the future.
The worship carried on to our finale concert held at Montclair Citadel (New Jersey Division). To a healthy crowd of onlookers, the Singing Stars performed their pieces, interspersed with testimonies and a devotional thought by Lt. Tabitha Swires. The weekend was a wonderful time of singing, learning, and being encouraged in the faith. The Eastern Territory should be very proud and encouraged by this large number of their Salvation Army youth, who, week after week – participate in the songster/chorus ministry. They do this because they love the Lord and they love the mission of The Salvation Army. Our Singing Stars do indeed shine bright!