The slow melting of „Voices for the Lord” started when Chato was given a chance to play the keyboard for St. Joseph’s church. She first met Sister Leila when the Holy Family Prayer Group went to St. Joseph’s to sing for the residence during Christmas. She noticed that during the Sunday Mass only Sister Leila sang without musical accompaniment. She came home and told me she wanted to help the St. Joseph’s church by playing the keyboard during the Sunday Mass. So we embarked on buying a keyboard and although she was not well versed in playing in the beginning, thru determination and lots of practice she was finally able to play. She attributed her ability to play well to the Holy Spirit. Chato and Sister Leila struggled thru the first few months for Chato was not versed on how to play for the Mass. So now they had 2 voices.

As months and practices went by, she asked me (Raymond) to sing background. I agreed. And now the Mass had a third voice. When I heard the 3 voices it was sounded good but I felt it still did not fill the walls of praise in the Chapel. I was thinking of asking my close friends if they would like to sing for St. Joseph’s Senior Home but I was very hesitant, thinking that they might say that’s ridiculous. To my surprise Lito was very happy to join us. Lito has a nice baritone voice unfortunately he lost his wife, Marci, to cancer a year prior to starting with St. Joseph’s. So that was the start of the melting of the voices.

We started as 4 couples who love Bowling together and enjoyed each other’s company, I didn’t want to alienate the other 2 couples so I told to them that Chato, Lito and myself were already singing in the church.

To my surprise Art and his wife Hermie were also happy to join. Art is an accomplishment guitarist and use to play in a band. With his knowledge of music he helped us with our vocal and musical arrangements. His wife Hermie was instrumental in finding praising songs that you now hear.

The last to join was Nestor and his wife Lulu. Nestor has a really deep voice and very pleasant to hear. Lulu his wife completes the voices the Angles. We were all very surprised that our voices blended very well. The 7 of us would practice every Saturday afternoon at my house but of course with the Filipino tradition we first had to eat, laugh and enjoy the precious moments with each other. Although we did not know each other in the Philippines. We all grew up in a small town where there was only one church where everyone gathers. So the Lord has always been with us. Here in the US your lives become diluted and at times lose your way. Singing for St. Joseph’s brings us back to what we remember of our innocent lives in the Province with the Lord. We started with 7 members but due to the Pandemic and illness we now have 5 members.

With great sadness Hermie contracted Covid. After 6 years of being alone Lito has found a new Love and has since moved to California. It brings us great pleasure to see the smiling faces of the residence of St. Joseph’s, Sister Z, Sister Leila and Sister Danuta when we sing. Even with only 5 members we’re still happy to sing for the audience of One, The Lord.

~ Raymond

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