Behind the Scenes with Diane Muscutt and Christine Gilbert

“There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.” –Father Strickland, Jesuit Priest, 1863

My interview with Diane Muscutt and Christine Gilbert started with this quote, and spoke volumes to what type of persons these two wonderful, exuberant, and humble secret servants are as co-leads for BelPres’ Sanctuary Chorus, the 120-voice choir that sings three Sundays a month from September to June.

When asked what their first reactions were upon hearing of their nomination for the Behind the Scenes article, Christine said, “I rolled my eyes and asked, ‘Isn’t there someone else that’s worthy of this?’ Debbie is so kind that we can’t imagine being recommended!” Diane expressed the same surprise, “Really?! We’re honored, as we really were not doing anything special. This is not a job, but more like having fun and helping and serving for us. Are we really worthy?”

Debbie Berkley, former admin for Music + Worship thought so, “They are fantastic!!!! They are always ready to lend a hand with whatever we need and go above and beyond what is required. Some duties are expected, but Diane and Christine do more than is expected…. They make Scott Dean, Karen Nelson, and me feel supported; they make choir even more fun than it already is, and they are always cheerful.”

“I grew up singing in choirs,” Diane intimates, “And joined the choir in September 2009. My family is very musical and I sang through high school. I can’t imagine worshipping from the congregation. I see myself in the choir!” Christine jumps in without skipping a beat: “I grew up singing in this church through the kids’ choirs. Lucky enough for me that my whole family was very musical. I have a visceral reaction when I realize that I’ll miss singing with the choir! I look at the weekends that we aren’t singing and those are the times that I go out of town. But I only leave after Thursday rehearsals and get a red-eye.”

When asked if it was difficult to have two choir leads, and how they were able to keep from “stepping on each other’s toes,” Christine explained that neither of them has any ego, whatsoever. “Part of it is our personalities—we work so naturally, we’re here for a purpose. The mission of the choir is deeply in us; we’ve answered the call.” Diane confirms that, “There are no power struggles. It’s not about us. We divvy up things. And we have other team members—section shepherds, a treasurer, chaplains, a total of thirty folks supporting the choir. We’re there to help and support them. We want them to have joy.”

Diane and Christine both work in the business world and are used to handling multiple tasks. But it is in the choir that they say they are able to do what they really want. Says Christine, “Both of us lead by example and optimism, and a little of silliness, because everyone works so hard and we want to make people smile a bit.” Yet underlying all of this is the strong sense of their calling. Diane says, “We’re here to serve, to make Scott’s job easier. There are things that we can do to help Scott focus on the majors. The choir is hard work, and we will stay in the role for as long as the choir is happy with us.”

Truly these volunteers are worth honoring. May the things they do contribute to the major shift that we are currently a part of. To God be the glory!

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