Looking Backward


          All things, regardless of their triviality, form an impression on our minds and have a profound reaction on our later life,  It may be the most minute detail of our conduct, or the slightest rebuke for our actions, which, coming at a critical moment, manifests itself so firmly in our minds that it changes our actions that follow.  These insignificant “molders of character” form the foundation on which all of us build our superstructure of life and success.  If we will look back we can find their beginning.

          Perhaps it was a fine for whispering in church, or for looking into the congregation.  Maybe a fine for inattention or playing pranks during the period before a rehearsal.  Then again it may be just a kindly word of advice from the choirmaster or a cheerful good evening from the faithful organist.  Regardless of where it comes from, whether choirmaster, organist, priest or older choir boy, it leaves its impression and its effect.

          It may have been the attraction of earning money for efforts put forth in singing, which drew many of us into the choir.  The writer presumes this is the main attraction to the beginner.  How eagerly all of us waited for pay night; how well the choir sang for the few weeks before and after each of these nights; how attentive and well mannered they were on the particular night; does it not bring a smile to each of you as you think over those days?  How eagerly the amount in the envelope was counted and how carefully the fines were scrutinized to see if we had been caught at some mischief or other.  How happy to see we had been raised to a higher rate of salary!

          As we became the older members our thoughts quite naturally turned to setting an example for the younger boys and our interests became more spiritual and less material.  It was then we put forth more effort toward the much coveted medals, which are given each year for the most deserving members.  How proud the chosen ones were as their names were read by the rector and how happy as they took their places at the altar rail.  An achievement had been attained and a goal won, and our lives at the same time had been changed.

          Then we must also look upon the guiding influence of the choirmaster, his advice, guidance, toleration, kindness, firm friendship, and his personal interest in each and every one of us.  How many of us as we meet him today think of the kindly way he has helped all?

          At the same time we must not forget two untiring workers for the choir, who have passed to the great choir above—Miss Marian Rand, who seldom missed a service or rehearsal, and Louis D. Henningsen-Pollock, who was untiring in her efforts toward keeping the choir looking their best in freshly laundered cottas.

          As we journey toward the sunset of life, regardless of our station, let us analyze our lives—let us look back to our choir days and see the profound effects which the Grace Church Vested Choir has had upon us.  The writer knows that each one will agree that we owe much more than we can ever repay, and that our success today can be directly traced to the foundation stones which were laid while were choir boys. 

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