Singing can be a vital part of church, especially at Summit on 16th United Methodist Church.

Zach Whittington, a third-year in finance at Ohio State, directs the children’s choir on Sundays for the church, located at 82 E. 16th Ave.  

He said his passion for music has a long history. Whittington is a member of the congregation at Summit on 16th and has been singing in the choir there for a year. He also cited experience in musicals in high school, youth group at his church and some shower singing.

He was awarded $2,000 from the OSU Second-year Transformational Experience Program, which he used to start and get resources for the monthlong children’s choir program for first- through sixth-graders.  

“I’ve been a singer my whole life, and I really wanted to give the kids an opportunity to do something,” Whittington said. “I love sharing my gift.”

He works with Katherine Arnold, a first-year in public affairs, who plays the piano while Whittington sings with the kids.

On Sundays, Whittington, Arnold and the children follow a routine. Before the children’s choir meets, Wittington and Arnold sit in the congregation so that the children know they are there. After prayer, the group heads to the choir room to begin their activities.

The children have been preparing for a performance that will take place next week.

“Not many of them can carry that much of a tune, but it’s fun singing. I’m teaching them about how to use a singing voice versus talking voice,” Whittington said.

To open the lesson, the children introduce themselves and Whittington asks them to share who showed them love that week. Before jumping into singing activities, he reiterates Pastor April Blaine’s message, “You are loved beyond your wildest imagination.”

He said he provides them with snacks and keeps them engaged through singing games and musical chairs.

“One of my favorite experiences is one I had with this little boy, Cay-on,” Whittington said. “When I first met him, he wouldn’t sit in his seat, would run around and draw on the board. At the end, I talked to him (about) the program. I said this could be fun or not fun. After the end of congregation, he told me, ‘I can’t wait to come back next week.’”

Members of the church look forward to seeing the end result of Whittington’s work.

“We’re excited to see our children perform, as well as start (a) love of music,” said Chere Hampton, office aid for Summit on 16th United Methodist Church.