Linda Dunlap understands the power of music. The Savannah-based librarian began singing as a child. She has continued to express herself and her faith through music most of her life.
But it was about 15 years ago that she connected with a group that would make a substantial impact on her and her future.
“I have always been in some kind of choir in church but I met a friend in Brunswick that had been a collegiate singer and she mentioned this awesome group to me called the Jubalheirs,” she said.
The Jubalheirs is an all-female chorus for ministers of music, organists, pianists and others who are involved in the music programs of Baptist churches. The vocalists, called Tapestry 3:16, are drawn from communities around Georgia, and they gather to perform at venues across the state once a month. There are more than 250 members who join their voices together in praise.
In addition to the vocal ensemble, the group includes the Jubalheir Handbells and Jubalheir Instrumental Ensemble. There is a similar men’s chorus, Sons of Jubal, who follow the same format.
“We do have some joint concerts once a year or so,” she said. “But that has to be a very large venues since there are so many of us.”
Since getting involved with the group, Dunlap has found a sisterhood that has helped her through some trying life situations.
“My journey with the Jubalheirs began in a period of life when my husband had suffered many health issues. The music and concert presentations brought me peace, healing and hope for the future,” she said.
“Many of the Jubalheirs could share in this testimony. The healing power of scripture experienced through music, both sung and heard, and how God has spoken through a particular song at just the perfect time of need.”
It’s a moving concept, one that has always spoken to Mark Clay.
The music minister at First Baptist Church in Brunswick certainly believes in the power to connect to God through song. And it’s why he and the church’s pastor, the Rev. Chris Winford, wanted to host the Jubalheirs in concert in its newly renovated sanctuary.
The women’s ensemble along with handbells and other instruments will take to the stage at 7 p.m. March 22 at the church, 708 Mansfield St., Brunswick. It will be free and open to all.
“The music ministry at First Baptist Church is so excited to host the Jubalheirs in concert. We jumped at the opportunity to host such a talented group of singers and players that provide such a wonderful experience in music and message,” Clay said.
“Today, as we continue to endeavor to bring a message of hope to those who are seeking, we are actually bringing hope to our own hearts and each other as we lift our voices in unison to God. For our God is an awesome God. God is Love and we hope to share that love through lifting our voices in song and proclamation to Him.”
As is their custom, the chorus members will begin to assemble early in the day to practice their music and prepare for the night’s show. This year’s program, Dunlap notes, will include hymns, spirituals and anthems.
“We actually have a retreat in September at Epworth By the Sea where we learn all of our new music and tweak it,” she said.
“But this concert will be our traditional uplifting and encouraging program of gospel music. There will be some traditional pieces that may be re-orchestrated for a women’s chorus.”
Dunlap hopes to share the healing power of faith-based song. She knows how it has pulled her through her dark days and hopes it can do the same for others.
“Life is hard, you know, and so many times people are not able express their pain in words. But you can with music ... it touches everybody’s heart and can be so powerful in a way that can’t be verbalized sometimes,” she said.
“I know that when I have not been able to pray for something specifically ... when something really terrible is going on, a song will come to my mind an it is so helpful and encouraging. There’s just that power to reach people.”