For 35 years, the Joyful Noise Choir, consisting of children ages 7 to 15, has been acting as musical ambassador for Rehoboth Christian Ministries, an association in Alberta that supports individuals with mental and physical disabilities.
“It may seem like an unlikely partnership, yet who better than children can understand what it means to be part of family and community and how hard it is when you are excluded for no reason other than you may be different?” said choir director Rein Selles, a member of Edmonton’s West End Christian Reformed Church.
Selles established the choir in 1978 and has been its director ever since. “I have now had the opportunity to see a second generation come into the choir,” he said. “The experience of the first children stayed as a memory and provided inspiration for their own children to join.”
Selles points out that the children come to choir to do more than sing. “Rather than focus on music alone, the choir is oriented to developing a commitment to service and showing leadership in worship,” he said. “Their music gifts are the tools they work with to achieve those goals.”
One of the goals is to raise funds in support of Rehoboth's camp facility at Gull Lake, Alberta. More than 1,700 children have participated over the years in raising $65,000 for new playground equipment and the construction of two cabins. They are now in the process of raising funds for a new kitchen/mess hall.
The Joyful Noise Choir raises funds through year-end concerts, sales of recordings and calendars, and through offerings received when participating at church services. While worshiping in numerous congregations across the province of Alberta, the choir also encourages families to become members of the Rehoboth association.
“We are not just a choir,” explained Selles. “We are a family brought together with God’s hand to sing his praises and build his kingdom.”