The Hope Singers is organized every two years for a choral tour of music and ministry in Poland. The choir is an extension of Anabaptist International Mission (AIM). Its core purposes are to present a musical program of spiritual vitality, musical excellence, and active communication with its audiences.
The first Hope Singers choir was formed in 2004, with an initial vision of bringing a musical ministry and encouragement to many small churches scattered around Poland. Since then they have been welcomed to sing in an expanding variety of denominations and public venues. Concerts include a mixture of standard choral repertoire, hymn settings, and a variety of other ethnic and sacred music styles. In the interest of communicating with people more deeply in their heart language, at least half of the program is sung in Polish.
Choir members come from areas across North America and Europe, and are selected through a musical and personal evaluation process. Since rehearsal time as a complete choir is limited, all choir members must be musically secure and independent. Music is learned independently in advance, and will include two preliminary weekend rehearsals for North American participants (details will be announced later).
The three-week tour in Poland begins with concentrated rehearsal days, two one-week tour circuits in different parts of the country, local programs near the home base in Eastern Poland, and recording days. Times for sight-seeing and relaxation are scattered throughout the schedule. Along with some of the regular places of interest such as Krakow, Auschwitz, Gdansk, Warsaw’s Old Town, and more. In 2014 we also hope to make more connections with the historic Mennonite presence in Poland (then West Prussia) that ended in the closing years of World War II.
Each tour has its own special blend of texture and experience. Here are some reflections from a 2012 participant:
Hope Singers 2012 experienced God’s special synergy with choir members, director, tour coordinator, and audiences all over Poland. God takes our tentative efforts to minister, and accomplishes far more than we could do by ourselves.
Some of the things He did on this tour:
- Encouraged other believers who feel very alone in their calling, and for a brief evening of songs and fellowship, helped them feel not so alone.
- Reminded us of His power for redemption and healing when we sang in a church room that used to be an office for Nazi officials and had a swastika on the wall. Now the swastika is gone and a cross hangs there instead.
- Made it possible to pronounce difficult Polish words well enough for people to understand them.
- Helped us to connect with each other as a choir even though most of us hadn’t known each other before. He took our individual talents and personalities and made it into a cohesive unit that was able to work together smoothly and beautifully.
- Facilitated conversations with members of our audiences, even when we couldn’t speak well in each others’ languages. He transcended words and spoken language to let us experience fellowship and understanding between our spirits.
- Used music to speak to the audience even while we sang in languages they couldn’t understand. He used our faces to visibly display the realities of peace and joy that we sang about.
It was an incredible privilege to travel and sing in Poland, a country with rich, long-established textures of history, religion, and culture. We had fun exploring the huge Castle in Cracow. In other old towns like Gdansk and Warsaw, we tasted great coffee, discovered special ethnic food, and walked around the old buildings and winding, cobbled streets.
The uniting of a group of people who are alive to their world, willing to sing and love their neighbors and their Saviour is a powerful experience. Music was God’s dream in the first place, and so it follows that joining Him in His work of creation and redemption is something that changes our own lives even while it impacts others.
For further questions, please contact us.