Prince once said that music holds things together and that quote can be seen in action at West Suffield Congregational Church. The historic clapboard church has stood for centuries where families of tobacco and dairy farmers, horse traders, post masters and more congregated on Sunday mornings to count their blessings and to lift up their voices. Today the small but mighty church still is frequented by descendants of those original folks, but new residents in town have found their way into the pews as well. And a big draw for all in attendance is the choir led by organist and choir director Ed Napolski. Week after week the members of the choir file in and climb up the narrow staircase to the loft where they work their magic. The small group led by their maestro somehow manages to produce the most beautiful and moving music each week and they make it look easy, almost spontaneous. This little choir leaves no stone unturned, if you like the sound of a belting out soprano, got it. If you prefer the nostalgia of a sister duet team, got it; prefer some understated harmonies, got that, too. And the total impact and joy they impart is made evident by one look at the congregation with their eyes glistening and their heads turned around facing the loft, amazed at what the choir is able to do there at the corner of Grand and Mountain.
This past summer, the WSCC embarked on a campaign to raise money for a new organ, as the old one has been limping along for a decade or so. The fund-raising campaign continues to be a success and they are now waiting with bated breath for their new instrument to arrive. The church will be outfitted with speakers and a dedicated computer system in conjunction with the new digital organ. Once the new organ is installed, hold your hats, because Ed and the choir will be even more energized to bring their music to life. I think even Prince, raised in a religious household, would have appreciated their weekly performances!
So, if you ever have a Sunday morning with some free time, pause from life’s pace to sit in this historic church and to really listen to the gift of music within those hallowed walls. The new organ will put a bow on that gift, and besides, the minister is pretty darn good, too!