October 20, 2020

Being Church in a Pandemic: Musical Moments


Bill Boggs, Broad Street’s Director of Music Ministry, grew up on the west side of Columbus.  He and his family attended Westminster Presbyterian Church on Schoolhouse Lane.  On Sundays, as worship concluded with the postlude, young Bill would hurry over to sit next to Charles, the church organist, to watch him play.  Later, during his teen years, Bill often played guitar in the early first service.


These days, in addition to his work at Broad Street, Bill is an adjunct professor at Capital University.  He conducts the orchestra, directs the opera music theater program, and is musical director for Broadway shows.  He also teaches two classical guitar students.  And for those who don’t know, Bill also has received two Grammys, but that’s another story!


Before Bill came to Broad Street six years ago, he directed choirs and led music in United Methodist churches for many years.  He says coming to Broad Street has been like coming home.


Bill reflects on 2020 and what Being Church in a Pandemic means for Broad Street’s Music Ministry:

Everything has changed.  We are a community of believers, and we have lost our ability to gather physically.  The sad part is not being together! 


Truly, what a grief it has been for the choir not to be able to sing together, to harmonize, to make music and share it with the congregation.

Bill continues:

…but that’s life for everyone right now.  It’s a challenge here at Broad Street and for every church.

Music’s way of touching our hearts is needed more than ever.  Now the challenge is how to make meaningful musical moments in a new way.

An important thing for me to remember personally is that the goal isn’t perfection.  It is more important to be moved by music than to be impressed by it.  Music during worship should deepen the impact of scripture and sermon.

In choir, the sum is greater than the parts.  That’s true for worship.  Our goal now is to combine individuals through the magic of technology to create our musical moments.  A gift during the pandemic has been that someone a thousand miles away can come into our homes and sing or play just for Broad Street.  Former choir members can sing for us again.  It’s a reunion of spirits.


When at church, Bill’s constant companion is Princess, his 13 ½-year-old Bichon.  At home, when he says ‘church’ out loud, she hops around with over-the-top excitement.  She loves coming to church. 



Her desire to come to church reminds us how much we long to return to the contours of that beloved physical space again, as a gathered community, and how, like the Psalmist, we long to sing and hear,

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”  (Psalm 122).


Meanwhile, during these days of Being Church in a Pandemic, Bill and all those he works with to create musical moments for BSPC, are meeting the challenge of this time and place, with creativity and soul. 


BSPC Virtual Choir Rehearsal


May we continue to open our hearts to meaningful musical moments experienced in our homes.  Though apart, we still are in the presence of God.


Our giving supports BSPC’s music ministry.  Because of the church’s giving, we are able to create and sustain vibrant, meaningful musical moments.  Our pledges to the 2021 Annual Campaign will continue to enrich music ministry at Broad Street.


Since the pandemic began, what has been a meaningful musical moment for you during BSPC worship?  Prior to the pandemic, what sticks out as such a moment for you? Let us know in the comments below.


–Written by Ann Palmerton



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  1. Betty Lou Stull October 21, 2020 at 9:46 am - Reply

    I. Will always remember how moving the music was at my husband’s Memorial Service. I appreciated the work that went into the preparation. Take out music from any service, and its more difficult to have a “heart connection”.

  2. Alison J Barret October 21, 2020 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    I really like this line: “It is more important to be moved by music than to be impressed by it.” Thank you to Bill and to all that provide meaningful music for our souls.

  3. Louanne Zipfel October 22, 2020 at 8:29 am - Reply

    I always love music- it enhances my life! I hate silence. It’s great to know Bill better! I appreciate his excellent work!

  4. Edwin Carr October 25, 2020 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    I also grew up on the West Side (The Bottoms) We learned the true meaning of life since there was no separation of classes. My first church was West Broad Street Presbyterian. Long since gone ..

  5. Linda Pratt November 12, 2020 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Recalling my years in the choir at BSPC with my mom in the 90’s, how much I loved singing with her and all the others, many who are no longer alive. And I remember meeting Bill Boggs when I attended a concert at Dawes Arboretum with my Mom and stepfather Glenn Harriman a trombone musician in the Welsh Hills Symphony.

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