Lifting Their Voices: Choir sings religious songs for competitions


Courtesy Photo

Cantare Deum participates in regular competitions and performances, including one in Branson from April 21-23. The group attended many shows, went to Silver Dollar City and finished off the trip by attending church.

Jamie Weiss, Staff Writer

A quiet hush falls on the room as the sound of dozens of voices rise together in harmony, praising God through song. Junior Gracie Keeney is among the members of the choir who sings about the Catholic religion.  

Keeney is a member of Cantare Deum who participates in regular competitions and performances, including one in Branson from April 21-23. One of these religious songs was titled “Sing Me to Heaven.”

“It is a very powerful song which is comforting when someone is dying,” Keeney said. “It can also just be really sweet and light-hearted.”   

Junior Ben Balino also attended the Branson trip. He said that he enjoyed all the activities the group participated in, including seeing shows, going to Silver Dollar City and finishing off the trip by attending church. 

“We went to the Dixie Stampede, which was bad for me because I learned that I am allergic to horses,” Balino said. “But on the last day, we went to church which was just a really good way to wrap the whole trip up.”

 Singing these songs helps Balino connect to his faith in a different way than just by praying with words alone.

“Words have meaning behind them, so when you add music to them it helps to commit and sing out,” Balino said. “When I am singing on stage, I feel closer to God because I am singing directly to Him.”

Another song the choir sings is called “River in Judea” about meeting again after passing away. This is both Balino’s and Keeney’s favorite faith song performed by the choir.

“You have to understand what you are saying in order to portray the emotion you want,” Keeney said. “It is not super far away until we are all in Heaven, and we are dancing, singing and with our family again.” 

The song was also requested at former girl’s head basketball coach Terry English’s funeral.

“It is one of my favorite songs, because we are going to meet each other again by the shore,” Keeney said. “It is even more meaningful now that I have been able to sing it for Coach English.”