Using Her Voice

Karen Scribano   -  

It is easy to be impressed when listening to the choir during the Sunday morning traditional worship service – the sanctuary fills with a beautiful blending of harmonious voices.  Occasionally, members of the choir are featured as soloists, giving the congregation the chance to hear the talents of some of the individual singers.  One of those voices belongs to soprano Marie Fuller.

It is no surprise that Marie is often selected as a soloist. She has a highly trained voice, having earned a masters degree in opera and performance at UNI after her undergraduate degree in music from Waldorf.  She spent her college years singing lots of operatic and choral music, and especially lots of Christian choral music, much of it very difficult.  Her college choir frequently performed masses, which are extensive choral compositions for liturgy, often in Latin.  And, of course, her opera studies required singing in foreign languages in addition to rigorous vocal exercises.

After college, Marie looked for ways to use her training.  She attended a church that had only a contemporary choir. She was a member of that choir “for a second!” She went to only one rehearsal and knew that the music was not challenging enough to hold her interest. She also thought about opening a studio.  “I taught voice lessons in college and during grad school, and I tried to get a studio started here.  But it is hard in an apartment with a keyboard (no full piano), so timing just wasn’t right.  Now I have a house and a piano, but I also have a child – that requires a different priority for my life!”

Marie was pregnant when she and her husband, Doug, moved to their home not far from St. Mark.  “We had both grown up Lutheran, and he preferred traditional worship.  I really wanted to find a church that we could attend as a family, and one where we could get our daughter baptized. We looked around at different churches and attended several services here at St. Mark before going to the new member class.  We both felt very comfortable here, enjoyed the preaching, and Pastor Bob is so personable!  We joined just one month before our daughter was born.”

She has now found a musical outlet and connection at St. Mark.  “I knew there was a choir here, and so, after we joined, I sat in choir. They were singing things here that I sang in college or for All-State.  He (choir director Christopher Ellerston) would hand us stuff and we would sight-read it, and I would think, ‘oh, okay, here we go…I know this.’ It was at the level of what I was used to singing.”  After a few rehearsals she called her parents and remembers saying, “Dad, I’m using my degree here! We’re doing a mass and – oof! – I sight-read the thing, but I still have to work here!”  Her dad, who is a piano professor, is excited that she’s singing again and able to express herself through her voice.

She loves the quality of the voices and music that she has found at St. Mark.  “For a while, I was doing musical theater, but I had to stop performing — real life just gets too busy with work and a child. But that wasn’t really my training, and I couldn’t sing the way I was trained to sing.  Being in the choir here gives me an avenue to be fulfilled in a musical sense.  I really do feel that I am using my degree here.”
And so, as Marie is fulfilled in her singing, all of St. Mark benefits as her voice soars or blends with others and lifts up praise and glory on Sunday mornings. Hallelujah!