Charlotte watched the choir ministering on the pulpit keenly. She tapped her feet along with the drummer. The song leader had a smooth voice. He wasn’t bad looking either. Her eyes wandered over the feet of the singers and scowled. What were they wearing? Some of the ladies’ clothes looked so unflattering on their bodies it bothered her. They really need a makeover, Charlotte thought. Some of them looked bored singing. As if they were yawning. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
She looked around at the congregation. It was a fairly big church. A good number of the members were well-dressed. But why wasn’t it reflecting on the pulpit? Maybe they needed someone to show them the fashion light.
Maybe she should join. She had the voice. Everyone said so. She thought of her gold heels she had bought not too long ago. The pulpit would be the best place to outdoor them. They would sparkle like the stars of the night. Combined with her amazing voice, she would shift the atmosphere and bring the congregation on their feet and their hands in the air. She smiled. She was going to be a star.
After church service, she walked up to the choir director.
“Hi I’m Charlotte. I was really touched by your ministration today. I really want to serve in the house of God. I believe I can do so by joining your choir.” He smiled.
“That would be great, Charlotte. We need more people to join. Which part do you sing?” “Alto.” “Great. Sing me something.” She sang a few lines from Israel Houghton’s Jesus at a Center song. He clapped.
“Wow. We have a short meeting in a few minutes. Care to join?” “Not at all.” A few minutes later, the choir members gathered around Frank, the choir director.
“Before we start, let me introduce Charlotte. She feels led by the Spirit to join the choir. Please say welcome to her.” Charlotte smiled as they did. She could see the insecure looks on the faces on the female members. Already? You’ve seen nothing yet. If I knew I’d be joining today, I would have really dressed for the occasion. You wait and see, she thought mischievously as she smiled at them.
After the meeting broke up, Frank asked for her number citing that he needed to add it to the choir’s WhatsApp group. But a glint in his eye told her that he had ulterior motives and she was fine with that. If she could win over his heart, her ascension in the choir would be rapid. She wasn’t planning on being in the backup vocals’ group for long. She needed to fix her Peruvian weave soon.
Wanting to create a good impression, she arrived at the next chorister’s meeting early. Only Frank and the instrumentalists had reported.
“Good to see you here so early! We need more zealous members in the choir. You’re welcome, Charlotte.” She flashed him a sweet smile as she said her thanks. This was just to seal the deal. Soon, she’d take her sweet time to arrive and they wouldn’t be able to start without her. She was going to be their queen.
Frank reprimanded the choir members especially the ladies for arriving late.
“You think God’s business is a joke? Look at the time you’re coming. Would you arrive at your workplace 45 minutes after official start work time? God have mercy on you. Even Charlotte who just joined us arrived ten minutes before time. This is the kind of attitude God demands from you. How can you expect God to bless you when you are serving Him half-heartedly?” Frank went on and on. The ladies couldn’t help but roll their eyes at Charlotte who was clearly enjoying the attention Frank’s compliments were giving her.
After the pianist said the opening prayer, they started with vocal warm ups. Charlotte sang her best and the others noticed. When they started rehearsing for Sunday’s ministration, Charlotte turned to look at the one beside her who was singing the soprano part. She was singing off-key. Unable to keep it to herself, she told her.
“Excuse me? Who do you think you are? Do you know how long I’ve been in the choir?” she bellowed, clearly offended.
“What’s going on there?” Frank asked.
“She was going off-key and I prompted her. Apparently, she doesn’t like to be corrected.”
“She’s lying!” “Fine. Sing it alone.” “What?”
“Sing that part by yourself and let’s hear you.” She swallowed and with one last deadly look at Charlotte, she started to sing. After a minute, she stopped singing after she realized she had gotten stuck and was going off-key. Charlotte bit her lower lip to keep her from laughing.
“Wow…so you’re the one who’s been messing up Sunday’s ministrations, eh? I sometimes hear something odd but I never suspected you. I thought it was Ama since you were in the choir before I took on this role. Can someone teach her how it should be sang?” Charlotte’s hand shot up.
“Of course. Do the honors.” After she had finished, the members clapped.
“Where have you been all this while? Glorious Choristers, meet your new front liner!”
The admiring looks on the guys’ faces and the unamused looks of the ladies were as contrasting as day and night and she smiled as broadly as she possibly could.
Just before they closed the meeting, Charlotte’s hand shot up.
“What are we wearing for Sunday’s service?”
“The choir’s theme shirt for the year with either skirt or trousers.”
“What you wore three weeks ago? Why not try something new?”
“We have a system of doing things here. So don’t try to disrupt it,” one of the ladies said, agitated.
Charlotte ignored her and looked at Frank. “You know, one of the things that get people excited to come to church is the music ministration. Apart from the voices they hear, they have to be drawn to what they see on the pulpit. You have to wow the congregation. Look fresh and smart.”
“This isn’t a Beyoncé’s show,” another lady snapped.
“I know; we are doing it for God. That is why we must do more than what the secular artistes do. I respect your system but I believe there’s always room for improvement.” Frank and the other guys nodded.
“You’re very right. Any suggestions?” “We could go with a color code. Any shade of blue, green, red…”
“Blue sounds cool. What do you say guys? Do you have blue attires?” Charlotte smiled. She was rooting for blue herself. The guys said they did. All the ladies except two said they had either blue blouses or skirts.
“Then blue it is,” Frank said in a tone of finality.
“What about those of us who don’t have?”
“Well since you’re in the minority, I suggest you find something bluish, sister Comfort.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Come in white then. Charlotte, kindly close the meeting with a prayer.”
“Shall we pray.” They all bowed their heads. Charlotte said the prayer and they responded amen to it. When the members dispersed, Frank approached Charlotte.
“I’m really glad you decided to join us. I really appreciate your inputs. I’ve a good feeling that you’ll help make this choir better.”
“It would be an honor to serve God in this capacity,” Charlotte said modestly.
As she walked home, Charlotte couldn’t help but hum loudly. She could picture herself rocking the stage in her newly-sown blue dress with her red heels and matching accessories. She was going to feed on bananas like some prescription. She had to prep her voice well for her singing debut.
On Sunday, Charlotte arrived at the church premises early for Bible Study. She noticed Frank stealing glances at her. She smiled shyly. She glanced at the pulpit. This would soon be her stage to shine. She smiled.
When it was time for ministration, they walked onto the podium. Comfort stood behind one mic in the middle whiles the others stood in groups of two and three. When Comfort noticed Charlotte approaching her, she glared at her giving her the loud message that she wasn’t going to share it with her. Frank saw the exchange and told Comfort to join the others as Charlotte would take her place.
“Now.” Comfort huffed as she joined the others. Charlotte stood in the middle behind the mic and flashed the congregation one of her best smiles.
Now let’s get this show started, she thought.
Know of anyone who is choristically incorrect? Share your thoughts on Charlotte’s agenda.
Read the next part here.
© Josephine Amoako 2016
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