Next Sunday, the choral ensemble Cantamos will present a concert of sacred music at St. Martin Lutheran Church on N.C. 200, off U.S. 601 south of Concord.
Cantamos - Spanish for "we sing" - is an outreach ministry of the Via De Cristo movement. It's made up of volunteers from the greater Charlotte area, including some of our eastern Cabarrus neighbors.
Rimer native Randy Buckwell is a 27-year veteran of the Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office, the school resource officer at Mount Pleasant High School and commander of the bomb squad.
He also sings with Cantamos. Buckwell explained the group's history and how he got involved.
Via De Cristo, or "Way of Christ," is a weekend program of spiritual retreat and renewal, and an outreach of the Lutheran church. Cantamos was founded in 1997 when the western N.C. chapter hosted the National Secretariat Annual Meeting for Via De Cristo. A choir was needed, and Cantamos was born with about a dozen members.
Since 1997 the group has more than tripled in size. It and sings for churches, nursing homes and, as Buckwell says, "anywhere people want us to sing." The only requirement for membership is the completion of a Via De Cristo weekend.
Buckwell joined Cantamos in 2006 with some encouragement from the woman he was dating. He has since married a fellow choir member, LeaAnn. Cantamos sang at their wedding.
Rathel Goodman of Georgeville said singing with Cantamos is about more than performance; the choir members are like family to him. The close-knit group worships and prays together and calls their concerts "how we do evangelism."
Goodman, who works in information technology services at UNC Charlotte, said the musical lineup for the concert at St. Martin is a good one.
Cantamos has a variety of musical styles in its repertoire. The singers can raise the roof with some Southern gospel or create a quiet, meditative mood with their music. Buckwell said they try to have something for everyone, from newer music to those "old-time religion" favorites.
Choir members come together in Troutman twice a month to rehearse, and the group performs as often as it is asked. It can be as few as six or as many as 15 concerts per year, Goodman said.
That's a big time commitment for these folks, but neither Buckwell nor Goodman seemed to mind. They simply enjoy sharing their musical gifts in this ministry.
For information about Cantamos, you can check out their website, cantamosonline.org.
The concert at St. Martin is at 4 p.m. next Sunday, followed by refreshments at 5 p.m. See St. Martin's website - www.stmartinconcord.org - for directions or information.