Readers write: Washington town is choral central, and value of tiny books through the ages

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 31, 2018 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Recently published tiny books by young adult author John Green fit in the palm of a hand. Publishers are waiting to see if the small, horizontal format will have as much success in the US as it has had in Europe.

Washington town is choral central, says one reader

I was thrilled to read the Oct. 22 Heart of the News article “How choirs build community.” Until recently, I lived in a small town in western Washington where every elementary school – all three of them – has a full-time music teacher and a choir. Most of the local churches have choirs, and there are three community choruses. Occasionally, some of the groups perform concerts together, which involves hundreds of children and youth singing, community choruses collaborating on a large choral classic, and church choirs sharing a Good Friday cantata with their combined congregations. I think of this town as choral central. 

One of the best events has been getting various singers together from schools, churches, and town halls to celebrate Veterans Day. This has happened every November since 2010. 

These programs include patriotic music sung by the often very large choir, a singalong with the audience, and a medley of the service songs, with veterans proudly standing during their service branch’s tune.

People in this small town have built some strong community ties through choral singing. Thank you for highlighting the power of choirs in your piece.

Suzanne Montgomery

Spokane, Wash.

Value of tiny books through the ages

Regarding the Nov. 23 Monitor Daily article “Move over, phones! Make room for books that fit in a back pocket”: I haven’t seen the new mini books that are discussed in the article yet, but I am looking forward to it. I have and treasure about 60 of the Little Leather Library books.

The Little Leather Library books were published in the very early years of the 20th century. These books were green, leather-bound, and each contained a significant piece of literature that was important in that period (1900-20).

Rosella A. Alm-Ahearn

West Covina, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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