“She hath wrought a good work on me.”  So said our Blessed Lord of the woman who came bearing the most precious gift she had to offer, an alabaster box of spikenard, with which she annointed His feet.  That little gift was made to Him, while His friends and associates were grumbling over the waste, has become a perpetual memorial of an obscure woman who lived in Palestine nearly two thousand years ago.

          The faithfulness of good women to the cause of Christianity has been marked throughout the ages.  It was to a woman that God entrusted the care and nurture of His Son; it was to a woman that He first appeared after His crucifizion on the morning of His resurrection; it was through a woman that Christianity first came to Europe in the days of St. Paul.  Throughout all the ages women have not been among the least in their heroic endeavor for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom, and it is perhaps womankind that has inspired men to bigger, nobler things that the Kingdom might be established upon the earth.

          Not among the least in consecrated, devoted service was the person of Electa Marian Rand, at one time a faithful member of Grace Church, whose life was spent in beautifying the Service of Almighty God that His Name might be worthily unknown among men.  She was a musician of rare talent and ability, having received her training under the direction of the best masters, amongst whom might be mentioned Clarence Eddy of Chicago.

          As early as 1888, she conceived the idea that the Church’s services might become more beautiful and more edifying for the people if a male vested choir could be organized.  She had a carefully thought out plan which she presented to the clergyman in charge, the Rev. R. B. Whipple, who heartily endorsed the project and gave freely his cooperation.

          On the 7th of January, 1889, with the assistance of W. L. McArthur, she had assembled some twenty men and boys and entered on a period of three month’s training in which these members met as often as two or three times a week, and on Easter day that year, they were permitted to sing in the Church for the first time.

          It was Miss Rand’s idea.  It is to her that we owe much of the success of later years.  What she began so earnestly, she never gave up until her impaired health made it necessary.  It was her wish that she might remain with the choir until God should call her to His Heavenly Home.

          It is an indication of her devotion to her Lord and Master that although she was a musician of exceptional ability, she diverted her attention almost entirely to sacred music.  Choice selections were made, and many of her spare hours were spent in training the boys so that they would carry their work well, and that the richness and purity of their voices might be given full freedom in a well rehearsed anthem or Psalm.

          As soon as her dream was realized, her life became dedicated to the cause.  Time, money, facilities were needed, all of which she provided generously.  The family home was offered freely for a place to practice, and was opened many times for social evenings for the boys, and for the purpose of raising funds.  The welfare of the choir was carried deeply in her heart.  She exercised a sincere and cheerful cooperation with the choirmaster and rector in every phase of the work.

          During the entire period of her connection with the choir, she allowed nothing to interfere with this work, which was placed first and foremost in her life.  There were many social attractions then, as now, but none of them could lure her away from her consecrated service.  Never was a blizzard too severe nor the rain too heavy to prevent her faithful attendance.

          As youngsters, we remember her as quiet and unassuming.  Her gentleness and kindness, and sympathetic understanding soon brought her the love and confidence of the boys.  So thoroughly did she understand them, she never expected a choirster to be an ‘angel bright; but just a ‘healthy boy.’  And that a boy should be restless and occasionally obstreperous, she was not shocked, although there was nothing in her nature that would encourage anything boisterous, rude, or coarse.

          What a keen ear she had for music!  She could single out material for solo work.  She knew a voice, and she knew what to do with it after she got it.  Many hours did she spend in extra work in the cultivation of a soloist, and when the time came to present her neophyte for service, one was impressed by the singular aptness of voice to song.

          And in the chancel, Miss Rand exercised her quiet power over the entire choir.  If there was a break in the music, she knew exactly what to do.  The boys learned to follow her, and were sure to be brought through the service safely.  It was taken for granted that she would do the proper thing at the proper time and we learned to trust her.

          She was well known for her works of mercy and charity.  Those who knew here best knew that she never allowed her right hand to know what the left was about.

          We turn our thoughts to Miss Rand in Tenderness, He Who began a good work in her did perform it to the end.  Those lives that were touched by her life are the better for.  May she go from strength to strength in the life of perfect service in God’s Eternal Kingdom until that day when He maketh up His jewels.

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