It was a little over a year ago when the seed was planted in Ken Raphael’s head about starting an orchestra at FBC. After a show of support by Pastor Dane Burg, it became a reality. On Sept. 15, 2013, Sounds of Joy had its first rehearsal. Ken realized at that point that the orchestra had already been in the making when a member of it shared she had been praying for five years for a Christian orchestra.
“I immediately understood why everything was falling into place,” he said. He added that the name of the group was chosen from 1 Chronicles 15:16: “David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud-sounding cymbals, to raise sounds of joy.”
Ken offers a four-fold reason the group was established. They are:
• To bring glory to God through instrumental praise
• To encourage the church body through instrumental praise
• To provide instrumentalists an opportunity for ministry
• To be a means of outreach within the community
The Bible verse Ephesians 4:12 summarizes what the group hopes to accomplish, he said. “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
“We want to see our instrumentalists bring glory to God through the use and development of their skill to the highest level possible, thereby encouraging the body of Christ,” he said.
While the choir offers singers an outlet to use their talent, there was little or no opportunity for instrumentalists beyond high school or college. Sounds of Joy offers that to those who wish to use their instrumental talent.
Pastor Dane said one of the reasons the orchestra is a great part of worship is because it beautifully illustrates the Biblical concept of “many parts, one Body.”
“We bring our individual worship offerings, and, together, it creates beauty – a fragrant offering if you will- that is far more powerful than each worship offering by itself. I believe God is pleased when his His body, the church, works together and lifts up their voice in unity and harmony, allowing Him alone to be glorified,” he said.
Enrollment in the group is presently at 21 “incredible musicians,” said Ken. To date, the group has performed three times in the morning worship services. As their playing matures, he’s hoping to increase their presence in the services.
Also in the orchestra’s future, Ken said he is looking forward to an outreach ministry within the community under the authority of FBC. His biggest dream is to work in conjunction with the choirs and is currently looking over a couple of instrumental pieces he has been given by the choir director, Susan Alexander. The highest joy of it all comes from playing to an audience of one, the Lord Jesus, he said.
“When we seek to please Him we hope as a consequence to be a blessing and an encouragement to everyone who hears us,” he said.
Sounds of Joy rehearses at 4 p.m. on Sundays in the Worship Center. Anyone who wishes to be a part of the orchestra can show up at one of the rehearsals and there are no auditions.
“I tell people to dust off their instruments and play the notes they can – the other notes will come in time. We are a no pressure zone!” he said.
Don’t have an instrument? No worries. “We have a French horn, clarinet, trumpet, flute, chimes, tympani and trap just waiting for someone to love,” he said.
For more information about the orchestra, call Ken at 209-329-5958 or the FBC church office and talk to Pastor Dane at 209-334-1332.
8:30am & 11:00am