History of THE SPIRIT OF LIFE CHORUS
Spirit of Life Chorus is a 91 voice ecumenical choir that sings by invitation at various Christian venues throughout the Chicagoland area (and sometimes beyond).
Does God put us in the right place at the right time and speak to us? You bet! That is exactly what happened to SPIRIT’s founder, David Barth, while attending the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Great Commission Convocation in St. Louis. As part of the entertainment, David heard the famed Houston Lutheran Choral in concert. And it was during that concert that he turned to his wife Lucia and said, “I want to start one of those.”
And so it was that in late 1989 the SPIRIT OF LIFE CHORUS was formed with 17 members from Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle and St. Paul United Church of Christ in Bloomingdale attending the first rehearsal. The first concert was held February 10th 1990 in Trinity’s Heritage Center. By that time, we had added 15 more singers, plus percussion. Back in those days, we begged for concert dates, and many times sang two concerts in one day. We borrowed risers and sound equipment from both Trinity and St. Paul. That meant trips to each of those churches to load up, and then drive to the host church. We’d set up, sing, tear down, travel to the next church, and start all over. Whew!
Over the years, and with God’s continued blessings, SPIRIT grew both in size and in commitment to singing the Lord’s praises. Some 300+ singers have joined us over the past twenty-four years, with members driving from Dixon and the Joliet area. Now that’s commitment!
Currently, SPIRIT is comprised of 103 members including singers, accompaniment musicians, sound crew and sales staff. Our membership proudly represents 41 congregations from seven different Christian church affiliations. But as diverse Christians as what we are, we all share one common bond…our love for Jesus Christ and our desire to sing His praises!
But SPIRIT OF LIFE is more than a chorus. It’s also a family. Members care and pray for each other, helping out in times of need. We have also been very blessed to have several of our own families sing together. Currently there are 21 couples involved in SPIRIT. Over the years several of our children have joined us and currently nine families are singing together, from mothers and daughters to the entire family. In fact, as our children grew up they became a part of the SPIRIT family, coming to concerts even before they could sing. To be a member in SPIRIT, you must be at least a freshman in high school. Just think about it, our youngest member was not even born when we started our first rehearsals.
As we continue our 27th season, SPIRIT has already performed a total of 404 concerts in 115 churches, participated in a number of Roselle’s 4th of July concerts, plus sung at a variety of private functions and events. In 1999, the Chorus flew to Houston, Texas as guests of the Houston Lutheran Chorale. We performed our concert on Saturday evening, and sang as the guest choir during both Sunday morning worship services. What a great spiritual trip that was for all of us! In 2001, we had the pleasure of performing in South Bend, Indiana, again singing as part of two worship services, plus performing our concert at the South Bend Convention Center.
A significant and meaningful part of SPIRIT’s ministry over the years has been to sing benefit concerts on behalf of various individuals, families and organizations. At least one benefit concert is scheduled each season. Coupled with matching funds, these concerts have helped raise over $268,000 for the various beneficiaries.
After 20 years of helping us to praise the Lord, the baton has been passed from our founder, David Barth, to the very capable and long time Spirit of Life member, Marc Stiehr. We will be featuring many of our favorite selections. But be assured that each one will have the unmistakable SPIRIT sound and feeling that so many have come to love. Give your heart to the Lord and to His music, and the audience members He brings to us will indeed be filled with the “spirit of life.” This season and always, we will truly be singing… for Him.