Church mixes music, ministry

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Sophia Witte, director of music at First United Methodist Church, will be leading the choir at the first music camp hosted by the church. The camp runs Monday through Friday and children can sign up by calling or stopping by the church today.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

First United Methodist Church is trying something new this summer.

Director of music Sophia Witte introduced the idea for a music camp for children and said it was received positively by FUMC staff.

“We’re kind of seeing how it goes for this year,” she said. “If it’s received well, we’ll continue to offer it.”

Witte said the camp will involve a choir, a hand chime ringing group and individual and group instrument lessons.

For the 14 children already signed up for the camp, piano, trumpet, flute, drum and recorder lessons for beginners will be given. The lessons will be taught by fellow FUMC members.

Witte said her children were involved in music camps at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. She saw the benefits and decided the church should try it.

“There are lots of reasons children should be involved in music. Just the discipline of learning an instrument and the practice involved is good for them. And being involved in all the arts, I think, brings out the humanness in a person. It’s a great way to express emotion,” Witte said.

Church member Christine Reid said she thinks the camp will have a positive impact on her daughters, Ashli and Brooke.

“Any kind of extra-curricular activity, no matter if it’s music or sports, makes (children) well-rounded. It gives them an appreciation for something other than the basics like reading and math,” she said.

Reid and her family moved to Clovis in March of last year when her husband was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base. Two weeks after their arrival, the Reids became involved with First United.

“I think it’s wonderful that the church is broadening their ministry through music,” Reid said.