Hi, Darlene !
I have drafted something I hope you can use. I've used brackets to
indicate sections where you will want to fill in something out of your
own experience and knowledge. Do remember that a few words from the
heart will be very meaningful to people. Feel free to change my
phrasing to suit your own voice. You do not have to sound like a
minister - they are used to writing and delivering sermons; that's
their job, not yours. Be yourself. You're the one they elected
President, it's you they want to hear.
Practise the speech, until you're comfortable with it.
I see that the Guild Annual workshop usually takes place alongside the
Hampton Minister's Conference (this must be their 90th year), so I am
assuming that the primary focus of the Guild is music for worship.
My bible quotations are from the King James Version.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome everybody to the Seventieth Anniversary celebration of the
Hampton Choir and Organist Guild. It's wonderful to see so many of you
here. We are especially blessed to have with us ...
(mention here :
1. Any founder members present
2. Anyone very elderly or who has made a great effort to be there
"..all the way from Nebraska..."
3. Anyone there who is just recovering from illness
4. Anyone who has made a special contribution to the event, or to the Guild).
And a special welcome too to....(whoever)... who turns seventy this
year and so shares his./her birthday with the Guild.
(Note: doing the acknowledgements here does two things. It gets your
audience applauding, and therefore in a receptive mood; and it allows
you to finish your speech on what you want to say so that they are
left remembering your point.)
I was a little nervous about making this speech, but I was advised
that I'd be fine if I just took it not too fast, and not too slow;
Andante would be just fine - seventy beats to the minute. So here
I was thinking about the Guild and what it represents. The tradition
of music from which it springs is much older than a mere seventy
years. Indeed, the Psalmist seemed to know about organists and choirs,
for in Psalm 150 he says - to summarise an already short psalm -
"Praise ye the Lord.....
. ...praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
...Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. ..."
(Verses 1, 4, 6)
I have been privileged to do just that in the (however many) years I
have been a Guild member.
(Here put in a personal story of someone who inspired you in your
early days as a Guild member.)
We're told the angels sing. So maybe it's no coincidence that in 1934,
the year the Guild was founded, one of the year's popular songs was
Cole Porter's "Blow, Gabriel, blow !" It sounds like one for you
organists to play all stops out. And I'm sure while we cannot match
the angels, all you choir directors aim to achieve - in the words of
another popular song of that year, "The Sweetest Music This Side Of
Heaven." ( Carmen Lombardo & Cliff Friend )
There is a Biblical use of the number seventy to represent the
completion of a cycle, not least in Psalm 90, verse 10:
"The days of our years are three score years and ten."
So it is appropriate that we celebrate this seventieth year as a
special occasion. But the Guild is not one person, but many, working
together in Christ, even though we may be working apart in our
different church communities; and the end of one cycle signals the
beginning of the next.
Everyone here, and every Guild member who cannot be with us tonight,
has an important contribution to make to the joyous praising of the
Lord through music which inspires so many who attend our churches. And
let's not forget those who may hear our music broadcast or recorded,
and who may come to Christ through that path. In Praising the Lord
through the gift of music that He has given us, we are using His gift
to uplift and encourage others.
(Refer here to any new initiatives planned for the next year or so.)
Thank you very much. I feel blessed to be your President in this very
special year. Let's look forward to the next seventy years of music
I'd like to finish with the first words of a Bach Cantata - number
70, of course; "Watch ! Pray ! Pray ! WATCH!" I'm sure every choir
director here would like to insist their choir do just that -
especially the watching. Thank you.
Good luck, Darlene - I'm sure it will be a wonderful day.