One note sounds forth amidst the crowded room – soft, clear, and with authority to hush the waiting crowd to a low murmur. Swelling with intensity as other instruments add their voices to the melee, that note crescendos into an achingly beautiful sound, resplendent with soul-stirring promises. 

And then, silence. The audience stills, waiting with bated breath for the fulfillment of those promises.  

The conductor raises his baton; the choir inhales and the orchestra straightens, watching intently the man that holds the promise of music in his hands. And with a flick of his stick, the music pours forth as if by magic, its chords hauntingly beautiful and its words transporting you heavenwards. The Over the Mountain Festivals concert has begun. 

For more than an hour the words weave in and out of sacred melodies, sung by a choir comprised of old and young, rich and poor. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, and Presbyterian voices join in rich harmonies, pulling listeners above the mess of politics and wars and terrorists, the CDC and the WHO, reminding everyone of better and more sacred pursuits. The eclectic mix of spirituals, classical pieces, oratorios, and hymns pulls our souls out in worship and adoration, bestowing a small taste of heaven upon us that we, in our finite humanity, can understand.  

Giving a small glimpse of heaven on earth is exactly what the mission of the Over the Mountain Festivals has been for 15 years: to delight your senses with a taste of what will be.  

Dedicated to preserving the beautiful tradition of sacred choral music, Over the Mountain Festivals gives the community a chance to participate in the rich legacy left to us by hundreds of composers. Listeners and participants are enabled and edified by the art of music, which in turn stirs them to glorify God. 

Each season, Over the Mountain Festivals begins with a repertoire of music designed to delight the senses and share the gospel. The group sings under a guest clinician, who uses their God-given talent to make the chorale a better, more seasoned choral group. After much hard practice, the chorale’s hard work is culminated with a free community concert, enabling them to share with the world the inspiring, challenging pieces they’ve been singing.  

Merely an idea in the heads of a handful of individuals back in 2008, the volunteer organization hosted their first concert in 2009, a dedicated effort from a few volunteers who gave of their time and finances to support the fledgling group. Fifteen years later, there are still a dedicated few who keep the Festival organized and running – along with over a hundred singers who join in the fun.  

Over the Mountain Festivals seeks not only to allow its participants to experience the music, but also aims for the audience to join in the age-old hymns, precious merely for being sung by millions around the world. As the truth of the time-honored words echo around the sanctuary, you will be amazed at the hundreds of voices uniting in proclaiming the truth of the gospel – both to themselves and to others – hundreds of people from different backgrounds, different denominations, and different ethnicities, all uniting in one glorious, swelling chorus.  

This year, the Festival Concert will be held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 18, at Riverchase United Methodist Church. As a member of the chorale, I can assure you that we plan on regaling the audience with selections from Hayden, Handel, Puccini, Bach, and Dawson, to name a few. We also plan on lifting up your soul, filling the sanctuary with ringing harmonies, and joining our voices on several hymns. And we hope to show the audience something better than themselves, something better than ourselves. Some One bigger than us all.  

At the culmination of this concert, if we have merely entertained you, we have failed. But if we have stirred your very being into an agonizing desire for greater and more priceless things, then we have exceeded far beyond our highest expectations. 

Kaitlyn Smith is a homeschool graduate, intent on pursuing every opportunity the good Lord puts before her. She’s blessed to live a simple life with her family of 11 on their small southern homestead, living for the glory of God alone and finding beauty and joy in the mundane, simple tasks of life. 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected]

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