Stained Glass provides musical ministry

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 3/31/99.

Stained Glass Eleven local students have formed an ecumenical group that provides musical ministry.

The nondenominational group includes members from five different denominations: Assembly of God, Catholic, Evangelical Free, Lutheran, and Methodist.

Members are Becky Gardner, Eddie Gardner, Rachel Gifford, Joe Halvorson, Jessica Heinen, Amber Ingalsbe, Scott Ingalsbe, Ginny Lahr, Ryan Lang, Susie Swyter, and Allison Thompson.

The group is directed by Doug Voss, who said the idea for such a group came to him and Erin Pelton last summer. He made a sign-up sheet and practice started in September.

The group practices on Sunday afternoons at Grace United Methodist Church.

They perform contemporary Christian music by singing and playing musical instruments. They also do a small skit.

So far, they have performed eight times, mainly in local churches.

Stained Glass might remind you of On Call, a Christian music group based In Litchfield and Willmar. "We have similar goals," said Voss, who sang in On Call for two years while in high school. He called that experience a good base for directing this group of students.

Stained Glass is not affiliated with On Call.

They hope to rival it someday, though. They hope to have a busy slate of concerts and a full band.

Right now, Eddie Gardner, Ryan Lang, and Allison Thompson are in both Stained Glass and On Call. Lang said he wasn't sure he would be selected for On Call. Becky Gardner, however, said she chose to be in Stained Glass because On Call demanded too much time.

"(Someday) people will be in On Call because they didn't make it in Stained Glass," quipped Scott Ingalsbe, in reference to the group's hope for improvement.

"It's an establishing group," said Voss. In the first year, much of the work has involved forming a strong structure for the group.

"This is a go-with-the-flow year," said Voss.

Voss thought the group had lots of potential. Only three of the performers are high school seniors. Tryouts for next year's group will be held in late summer or early fall, said Voss.

Voss hopes the group will feature a complete band in the future and that it will be able to perform a more difficult repertoire. Right now, the band has a keyboard and a guitar. Becky Gardner, Ryan Lang, and Amber Ingalsbe play the keyboard and Joe Halvorson plays the guitar.

They also are eager for more performances. "Whenever we get asked, we'll perform," said Voss. They can do a full concert and provide the primary message of a church service, or they can be the special music and perform just a highlight of the service.

After brainstorming about possible names, the members voted on their name, Stained Glass, which has a meaning. The T-shirts they wear for performances quote on the back: "People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Upcoming performances for the group are on April 10 and 11. On Saturday, April 10, they will be performing at the 5 p.m. mass at St. Louis Catholic Church. On Sunday, April 11, they will perform in the afternoon for a convention at Nordland Lutheran Church.

They also want to take a trip abroad this summer, but the destination has not been set. They plan to hold a fund raiser on June 12, but the details have not been finalized yet. Their plan, however, is to hold a dinner and a dress ball for the community, featuring a 1930s style big band. "It should be fun," said Voss.

Voss said the students have been very enthusiastic and focused about the group. "I wish I had more time to devote to it," he said.

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