Every Sunday morning, a group of Galesburg residents and Knox students sings during the service at First Presbyterian Church.
They are paid to sing and some of the members who live in Galesburg have been singing in the choir for over a decade.
At 8:30 a.m., they have a quick rehearsal prior to their performance.
Between each song, the pastor leads the congregation through a different prayer. The choir sings hymns, spirituals and the Lord’s Blessing at the end of each week.
“My favorite thing to sing is the benediction ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ by Lutkin and the doxology prayer,” tenor and sophomore Sam Hart said.
Some may wonder why college students would want to sacrifice sleeping in on Sunday mornings to sing, but junior Jonathan Vardon finds being a member of the choir to be a very fulfilling experience.
“Getting up on a Sunday morning could have been a little rough, but the responsibility of my position in the choir makes me just that bit more responsible. I no longer go out on Saturday nights,” he said.
Sophomore Kathryn Lanute has always been singing in choirs, but her invitation to sing at First Presbyterian was out of the blue. She was offered a Choir scholarship, and is paid $10 an hour for her work.
“It’s a different experience,” said Lanute. “Everyone is very kind. I like how they know your name, and they’re happy to see new people.”
All of the choir members have expressed that they truly enjoy interacting with Galesburg residents, and feeling like part of the community outside of the ‘Knox Bubble’.
“[The other choir members] even invited my fellow Knox students and I to have lunch at the church last Sunday, as they were having a chili potluck,” Varden said.”
He added that “talking to the other choir members about happenings in town and such is quite interesting” and an apprecaited break from the “Knox Bubble.”
To be in the Chancel Choir, a chorister from each section is asked by the director, Pier Debes ‘10 for Professor and Chair of Music Laura Lane’s recommendation.
“It’s a great time! And it’s been wonderful to interact with folks who live in Galesburg, some of which have been here their entire life. It’s great to have that other perspective, and that sort of community feeling,” Hart said.