Posted in God Loves Me!, Singing

Overcoming Objections for Joining the Church Choir: They’re watching me!

Yep, they sure are! And you can watch them right back…hehe!

One of the most common objections church members cite as why they don’t want to join the choir – after not being “good enough” – is that everyone is looking at them through the whole service. Naturally, this objection is only relevant for churches where the choir sits up front and center-ish.

I get it. I was thinking about that today during church, specifically during the special music when a dear friend and I sang a duet. Yep, we accepted a request that put us in even more of a spotlight than when we sing as part of the larger choir group.

But what I get as the trade-off to being watched is such an exquisite blessing. You who sit in the congregation and never venture to the chancel (front) and turn to face the congregation never get to experience this. You’re just facing the wrong direction entirely and can’t.

Here are some of my favorite things to see each week that you don’t get to:

  • the smile on a congregant’s face when communion is carried to him/her – usually someone sitting pretty far back in the pews – and since we don’t usually turn around, few get to see the gratitude, the inclusion
  • the children when they return to the sanctuary during the Offertory or Doxology, their faces eagerly searching for mom and dad, hands grasping or heads wearing their Children’s Church creations
  • the people who know and love a hymn so well that they put their book down, look up and into my eyes, and smile as we share the joy of that song, those words, God’s love
  • the usher who brings a walker up the aisle at the end of the service to make post-service fellowship that much easier and more comfortable and safer to enjoy

Our choir boasts singers with asthma, allergies, limited ranges, melody-only skills, and we love them all. They sing to the Glory of God, and are blessed to witness each week the unnamed kindnesses and brilliant joys of others because we can see the whole congregation right back!

You can find me singing in the choir most Sundays at Palmetto Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Posted in Love Life, Singing

Wedding Lyrics for Hallelujah (L. Cohen)

I wrote these scripture-based lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” because a bride asked for it but did not like the generic wedding versions available such as here and here.

Mark 10: 6-9
In the beginning, God had a plan
Created woman for the man
To be no longer two but of one flesh.

Man leaves behind his former life
To be united with his wife
What God has joined, let none divide Hallelujah

Song of Songs 8: 6-7
Place a seal upon your heart
Like the seal upon your hand
For love is strong and always prevails

Blazes like fire, a mighty flame
Seas and rivers will only inflame
Unquenchable love in Christ Oh Hallelujah

1 Corinthians 13
Love is patient, love is kind
Protects and trusts and will always bind
Two lives in one perfect unity.

Now with Christ who is our guide,
In Faith and Hope and Love abide
And the greatest of these is love Oh Hallelujah

Ruth 1: 16-17
Wherever you go, so I will go
Wherever you stay, so I will stay
Your people will be my people, your God my God

Thou art my joy, be near me now
Then shall my soul contented bow
I am forever at thy side Hallelujah

Lyrics Copyright (c) 2016 by Catherine C. Mikell Creative Commons License
This work by Catherine C. Mikell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Debuted September 10, 2016 at the wedding of Ali Mitchell Gentry

Posted in Singing


I opened this blog in January, right after my final singing performance of 2010 (check out the page called “Caterwalling”). It was such a terrible video that I agreed to reprise the duet with my friend Loretta Haskell, owner and director of the vocal studio More Music Please, as Gatta Una in Rossini’s famous Comic Cat Duet as the finale to her studio recital February 20th:

At this time last year–and at this same recital last year–I debuted three of the four songs I would sing a month later at the South Carolina National Association of Teachers of Singing Annual Auditions…and WIN, taking not only top honors but also scoring high enough to perform on the honors recital. Regrettably, I did not perform as well at the Regional NATS later last spring. (More on those later as I’ll write about my selections and what they meant to me.)

At that time, I chose to discontinue my study with Loretta, but she has graciously encouraged me to continue working on existing and new repertoire and continue debuting my newest work through her recital series. The next one will be August 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm at Christ Church in Mount Pleasant. I will be singing the second title character aria from Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah: The Trees on the Mountain. Listen here to the recording I practice with the most (please ignore the bad accent; I won’t be doing that part):

It’ll be a wonderful cap to celebrate two years of working with Loretta. I debuted on the August 2009 recital with the first title character aria from Susannah: Ain’t It a Pretty Night:

Posted in Cooking, Singing

Welcome to Singing about Cooking…

Happy New Year 2011!! Just a feeling, but it’s gonna be a fantabulous year.

My blog Singing about Cooking is my first attempt to introduce the world to my secret passions: singing and cooking. Only a small circle of friends and family know what these two things really mean to me, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to let my voice out and feed the world…so to speak.

Let’s see, I started 2011 out singing with my favorite soprano friend Loretta Haskell, owner and teacher of More Music Please voice studio. But my first official performance of 2011 will be on Sunday, February 20 at 3:00 pm at Christ Church, Mount Pleasant; I’ll be singing the second lead aria “The Trees on the Mountain” from Carlisle Floyd’s Suzannah, with a finale reprisal of “Duetto Buffo di Due Gatti” by Rossini, a duet with Loretta!

Hmmm, the first thing I cooked in 2011 was Greek lemon mahimahi, Greek roasted potatoes, and sauteed brussels sprouts for possibly the pickiest eater in the whole world, my friend Marty. Again, thank you, Jeanne (his momma), for letting me invade your kitchen!

The first thing I learned in 2011 is that being laid off from my job of 3.25 years is possibly the most liberating thing that has happened to me in years. Yes, I’m worried about when I’ll run out of money. Yes, I’m looking for a new job. Yes, I have plenty to keep me busy. But most of all, yes, I’m focusing on doing the things I LOVE!!

The first thing I organize in 2011 will be my grandmother’s Christmas decorations. Today I’m headed over to “undecorate” her house and put things where they belong, so next year I’ll be able to find everything again.

I’d love for you to just follow or even to join me on my journey to discover more about the things I do that prove I am truly living and not just marking time. And if you ever feel moved to share through more than just a comment, please ask to be a guest author on a topic! Living is not possible without meaningful interaction between people who share desires…even (sometimes especially) if they don’t agree.