By Renee T. Doyle
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:2–3
When you are an emerging school, each year brings the challenge of matching or exceeding the quality and excellence of an annual event. In this case, our 2018 GCA Christmas Concert was no exception.
The younger students in preschool through first grade started practicing in early fall to learn five songs, but our 2nd – 7th grade students had approximately four weeks between the Veterans Day Program and the Christmas Concert to perfect ten pieces of music (not including three more for caroling). Hours of music selection, planning, set-up, decorating, hauling instruments, sound work and accompaniment are jammed into our already rigorous school day. A school bus is rented to take the students to the performance site three times for practice.
When the night of the concert arrives, the staff fastidiously check every collar, tie and shirt for last-minute adjustments. Bathroom visits are taken care of and the children line up quietly, hands at their sides, and wait for their cue. When they enter in their nice lines and stand exactly in the right places, we take a sigh of relief. We’re ready to go.
We have an amazing music teacher in Annette Jenkins. She is well-organized and totally dedicated to every single child. We are so blessed to have her. You might wonder, though, how she is able to teach students so much in so little time. It is, in no small measure, because of the rest of our staff.
There is no possible way that Mrs. Jenkins could move so fast without the attention and respect skills that are taught in every classroom, every day, all year long by the classroom teachers and support staff. The students come to her class ready to learn, they pay attention, they do what is asked of them, and they have fun doing it even when it is very hard.
But the highest goal of this year’s Christmas program was not gained through character or etiquette training. It was garnered through prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit. This year, we spoke to the students about the evangelical side of the program – how it might be the moment that hearts might be moved to find the Savior for the first time, or how broken lives and relationships might be healed, or how joy might be found again. This year, we had multiple music parts, rounds, solos, instruments and narration, but most importantly, we had the help of the Holy Spirit.
The night of the program, several people walked up to me to say, “Thank you.” But more than one, through teary eyes said, “That was just what I needed. I had lost my joy. I needed joy, and I found it here.” Since that night, I have heard many more encouraging comments about the program’s effect. Please read Mrs. Jenkins’ story of one woman who attended from four hours away.
We all know that we need a little more joy in our lives. We know our communities need it. We know that our families who have lost loved ones this year need it. I think that the students, staff and volunteers at Genesis Classical Academy were able to bring songs of joy that will be life-changing to others, and we at GCA know that “…The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” May the joy of the Lord be your strength this Christmas and in 2019.
Renee Doyle has been the Headmaster at Genesis Classical Academy since its founding in 2015. Genesis Classical Academy is located in Winnebago, MN and is a public charity. It is the goal of GCA that no child be turned away for financial reasons.
The Woman After the Concert
As told by Annette Jenkins, GCA music director
Three minutes before the program was to begin, there was a woman who stood at the back of the church looking for a place to sit. But the sanctuary being full, I could tell she needed some assistance with finding a seat. I went up to her and told her that there was a spot open down front in the second pew, and asked if she would mind sitting so close to the front. She said that was fine.
After the concert, I was gathering up my music and she came up to me, thanked me for the performance, and commented that the students had done an outstanding job. Then she said to me, “I came here tonight searching for something and I found it.”
I was sharing this with my students the next day, and one of the fourth grade boys said, “It was God who brought her there because He knew she needed something.”