A chorus of competitive fifth-graders in the Shenandoah County Public Schools recently performed at Strasburg High School. Following their offering, the chorus sang with the visiting well-known Masterworks Chorus a selection of considerable challenge and accomplishment.

Some eyes were wet.

The experience closed with the Masterworks Chorus singing “Prayer of the Children” composed and written by Kurt Nestor in 1995.

The music begins with low, soft voices. “Can you hear the prayer of the children? On bended knee in the shadow of an unknown room, empty eyes with no more tears to cry, turning heavenward toward the light.”

Soft at first, the chorus breathed a crescendo gentle and clear.

“Can you feel the hearts of the children aching for home, for something of their very own? Reaching hands with nothing to hold to, but hope for a better day.”

Tears were spent in rehearsal. Now all eyes forward saw the magical Scott Zane Smith conduct the lofty breath and sound to glory.

“Help me to feel the love again in my own land. But if unknown roads lead away from home, give me loving arms away from harm.”

Breaking through a brilliant trumpet, clear and clean: evocative of the heavenly host was delivered by Megan George. Like an archangel, she commanded attention.

Finishing the lyrics with a plea for safety from hate and gun violence, the finale seemed like a lullaby. The chorus repeated the concert twice in the county and then at the Sunnyside retirement community.

Tears came.

News today still reports about children homeless, sick and hungry. We know kids who were unexpected, unwanted, abandoned and sold. Kids now exist with addicted mothers, foraging for food. Gunshots terrorize schoolchildren. With divine assistance, we still can offer help. Where have we been? The trumpet sounds!

Dr. Eloise Clymer Haun


Dr. Eloise Clymer Haun is a retired child psychiatrist living in Woodstock.