Stephen Bither and Judith Hill present Faith York with a certificate, allegedly signed by John Wesley, celebrating Faith's 20 years as choir director.
Twenty years and counting
Judith Hill remembers the first time Faith York was introduced to our church choir.
“We were rehearsing on a Wednesday night when Faith came in to interview for the choir director’s position. She held up the music we were working on and told us to put little marks on certain words. Those were the words she wanted us to emphasize when we sang. I still remember the music — it was “Lord of the Dance.”
And that was 20 years ago.
On Sunday, Faith was recognized at the 10 a.m. service for her immeasurable contributions as the church’s choir director since 1994. Following the service’s anthem — led by Faith, of course — Judith Hill walked to the pulpit and offered her remembrances to the congregation of Faith’s 20 years of direction, creation and inspiration. Judith and Duane Wakefield are the only current members of the choir who were there when Faith arrived in 1994.
Faith listens to Judith's remembrances.
Following Judith’s remembrances, which included high praise for some of Faith’s original scores, particularly ones written for funeral services of beloved members of the church and the Christmas cantata “When Heaven Touched the Earth,” Stephen Bither read from and then presented a certificate of gratitude to Faith, signed by the Rev. Ruth Morrison and allegedly by John Wesley.
Before the presentation, Stephen read from “The United Methodist Hymnal,” in which Wesley includes Directions for Singing:
“Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.”
Stephen said it was clear that Faith has always taken Wesley’s words to heart — and mind.
Also during the presentation, it was recognized that Faith’s husband, Larry Deucharme, was part of the package deal when Faith was hired as the choir director — and Larry has been singing tenor with the choir ever since.
The choir acknowledges Sunday's recognition of Faith's 20 years of service.
This all began in 1994 when Faith saw a classified ad in a newspaper asking for applications for the position of choir director at the Cape Elizabeth United Methodist Church.
“I called, I auditioned, I was hired and that was the beginning,” Faith said when interviewed in 2009 for a church newsletter story.
Previously, Faith had been the choir director at the Wells Congregational Church for nine years — the church where Larry and his family attended and the church where Faith and Larry met and were married in 1990.
Faith took a break from directing in 1992, when their son Ellis was born, and joined the choir at South Church in Kennebunkport.
“At the time, I was working a good deal as a restaurant or lounge pianist or singer, including jobs in New Orleans, St. Thomas (Virgin Islands), and even Paris — France, not Maine,” Faith said during the 2009 interview. “I worked as a music theater director, did cabarets, performed at weddings and funerals, played at coffee houses and took on a few private students.”
But in 1994 she remembers getting the “bug” to direct again, and perhaps by divine intervention, she saw the advertisement about CEUMC looking for a choir director.
It also was in 1994 when the Old Grist Mill restaurant in Kennebunkport caught fire and burned to the ground. Faith had been playing piano there for a number of years and her 20-year collection of sheet music was destroyed in the fire.
“It had been neatly stashed under the grand piano,” she recalled in 2009. “It was an incredible loss and I didn’t have the energy to reconstruct it.”
It was time for Faith to move on and our church became an incredibly fortunate recipient of her talents.
Thank you Faith and Larry, from all of us!
Steve Hill sat with Faith on Sunday at the piano, holding the microphone for her when she sang. It was probably a first for Faith -- and Steve, too.