Nine hours, 720 hymns, one choir

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…and one dog.

There were some reports of dizziness and shortness of breath, but no major medical concerns – when you sing hymns all day, with two 15-minute breaks and one lunch hour, you can get a little dizzy.

The Anglican Journal reports on a recent hymnathon held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, raising money for a choir trip to England in the summer:

Working through the Hymnal 1982, they started with hymn No. 1 at 8 a.m. They also devoted two hours to singing all the verses of the special dedication hymns chosen by donors who gave an extra amount for the honor. To fit it all in, they had two timekeepers to help singers average about 30 seconds a hymn, with the goal to cross the finish line by 6 p.m.

They actually finished early, at 5:20 p.m. The idea from canon musician Michael Kleinschmidt, who had worked with music director and organist Richard Webster of Trinity Church, Boston, who had organized hymnathon events in Evanston, Illinois and in Boston.

Kleinschmidt organized his first hymnathon in Portland, Oregon, which raised more than $22,000. His goal for the St. Mark’s choir is $35,000. Fundraising isn’t over.

In September, a hymnathon at Christ’s Church in Rye, New York, raised $7,798 for the choir’s pilgrimage to sing in England in August.

Fundraising can take all sorts of creative forms, but a hymnathon is quite a lofty goal in itself, money aside, said Deanne Falzone, mother of Josette, 12, a member of the senior choristers at St. Mark’s and one of the youngest members of the Evensong Choir. The Evensong Choir is a hand-picked, professional-grade choir of older children and adults.

“It seems like a pretty big feat to do,” Josette’s mother said. “There’s been just so much energy from so many people in the choirs.”

Photo by Liz Bartenstein

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