Lyrica Sacra was initially a one-time effort to bring together conservative Anabaptist singers and instrumentalists in the Ephrata, Pennsylvania area – supposedly the first effort of its kind in these circles. The effort culminated in a full-length program that was very well received, in August 2014, with 20 singers and 12 instrumentalists. On the strength of that success, another program was planned for the following spring, and with ongoing success and acceptance, programs have continued each spring to the present.
The first program was planned and initiated by Yuriy Kravets, but as it proceeded he asked Galen Reed to assist with implementing it. The two continued through another concert cycle, after which Carl Swartzentruber was included, providing ministerial involvement. Eventually, fourth and fifth men were added to what was then a fully functioning board, with the development of:
- A formal vision statement (2016)
- Adoption of the name “Lyrica Sacra” (2016)
- A formal statement concerning the Christian use of instrumental music (2018)
- Satellite rehearsal sites, for those two hours or more from the Ephrata rehearsal location (2017)
- 501c3 registration (2019)
- Addition of a Children’s Choir (2019).
- Addition of the Youth Choir (2023).
Concerts now feature 60-80 adult singers and 25-30 instrumentalists, with a 40-voice children’s choir being added in the spring of 2020. Each performance cycle of two programs averages 1,500 - 2,000 in total attendance, plus live stream and YouTube audiences. Lyrica Sacra has been unique in providing a choral-symphonic outlet within the conservative Anabaptist community, and also in drawing together people from many subgroups within the larger conservative community.
Additional efforts have been considered to expand Lyrica Sacra’s outreach. To date, doing programs twice a year was done (2017), and in the fall of 2019, a pilot project kicked off the Children’s Choir. Efforts to further clarify the role of music in the life of a Christian receive ongoing consideration, addressing sensitivities to the use of instruments in conservative Anabaptist settings, sensitivities to various “styles” of music, and the future provision of website resources addressing broader issues pertaining to a Christian’s musical life and perspectives. Given the prevalent use of electronic media, specific consideration is also given to the concerns of the larger international audience.
Lyrica Sacra currently operates with an annual budget of approximately $12,000, with funding coming from private donors and concert offerings. The board* meets about four times per year.
The effort has continued as initially conceived, under its vision statement:
- To provide choral-symphonic Christian music that is glorifying to God and edifying to men.
- To present high-quality music that effectively communicates God’s message of salvation and life.
- To develop musical abilities in aspiring conservative musicians, and to provide a viable outlet for such gifts.
Lyrica Sacra continues to attempt to provide music that is honoring to God and genuinely edifying to His people and is blessed to know that it has ministered in this way to God’s people.
* Current board members (2024): Earl Fox, John Michael Nolt, Stanley Sensenig, and Carl Swartzentruber.
Lyrica Sacra is a 501c3 ministry.