The Sweet Sounds of Singing

Members of the children’s choir practice at St. Luke’s.

By Sabrina SHELTON

In a world with so much noise, it’s nice to listen to the soothing sounds of a choir. Sometimes singing can be a hobby or an escape from an otherwise hectic life. For St. Luke’s Youth Choir leader Merced Stratton, singing is a way of life.

Stratton has been singing at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for about five years as one of the regular Sunday musicians.

“I studied opera at Cal State Northridge under Diane Ketchie and have had an interest in choral education since I was a student at Crescenta Valley High School,” Stratton said. She has performed in various operas as both a chorus member (Handel’s “Serse,” Otto Nicolai’s “Merry Wives of Windsor,” Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti”) and as a principal singer (Chiarella in Domenico Cimarosa’s “Li Sposi per Accidenti”) and performed two solo recitals.

Stratton has brought her love and skills to her church as a singer in the Sunday band though there is no formal choir, at least for adults.

“As someone with a strong passion for choral music, I was looking for ways to bring more choral music to our congregation,” she said. That’s when she dreamed up the idea for a children’s choir.

Since September, Stratton has recruited and rehearsed singers from St. Luke’s congregation with a grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

The big reveal will be at St. Luke’s Annual Sing-Along on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. The sing-along, hosted in the St. Luke’s sanctuary, is free and open to the public with complimentary cookies and cocoa afterwards.

Stratton’s goal for 2020 is “…to collaborate with the children’s choirs at All Saints Church in Pasadena. I would also love to get the youth choir more regularly integrated into the Sunday services so that the children are singing at several services each season.”

St. Luke’s Youth Choir is open to all children in the community ages 7-13 and is free to join. Families do not have to be members of St. Luke’s to sing with the youth choir, and are welcome to observe rehearsals on Wednesday nights from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. in St Luke’s sanctuary if they are interested.