Groundbreaking choir Pilgrim People to celebrate anniversary
I was 10 when my parents joined the Pilgrim People. At first I was simply along for the ride. But, as I was pretty musically talented myself, I became part of the choir at first playing percussion, then drumming, and then playing guitar and leading the instrumentalists. It was a lot of fun, and a good outlet to be utilizing my musical abilities.
The early years were tenuous. Often, people were fairly put off by the notion of "rock music" in church. Some churches were still doing mass in latin at the time. The Pilgrim People were a big deal to some. But, we persevered. The Pilgrims started with about 12 members and grew to about 70. At one point we had 4 guitarists (including bass), a drummer, piano, a flute, violin, 2 dancers, a trumpet, harmonica, a banjo, and the 70 choir members.
The Pilgrims cut 4 records. I played on the first three. I lasted about 20 years before finally hanging it up. The Pilgrims went about 10 more years on a regular basis. The last 10 years have been sporadic. The novelty had certainly worn off, and people were getting older. New members were hard to come by as most churches had their own choir members.
I met my wife in the Pilgrims. Originally, Jackie came with her mom and sat with the congregation. She was resistant, at first. Going along with mommy wasn't very cool. Then she saw me.
And I saw her. Suddenly it's 22 years of marriage and one daughter later. The service today brought back a lot of memories of friends, music, a new age for the church and music, and meeting my wife. Of the members there, I was the only original. Pretty cool.
What makes this story all the more interesting . . . I'm really an agnostic. A moral atheist. Always have been. I ain't real keen on organized religion. But, I respect anyone who professes deep faith and belongs to a church. The time that I spent with the Pilgrims was always very moving for me. Not in the sense of a connection with God, but in the sense of connecting with people and bringing joy into their lives through music.
Anyway, there's link on the website to some music cuts from various records. I drummed on some, played guitar on others. Have a listen and enjoy. The music represents 40 years of a mission that was carried out by people of various religions, various colors, and various ages. All sharing one thing in common . . . the desire to worship in the form of music, singing, and dancing. Some, including my dad, have passed. It is part in their memory that I sang and played today.