Learning from Children and Trees


Tom Shelton and the Children’s Choirs prepare to sing on Palm Sunday

The Children’s Choirs will present their musical, The Tale of Three Trees, on Sunday, April 23, at 9:30 and 11 a.m.  Written by Allen Pote and Tom Lang, and directed by Tom Shelton, this musical brings to life the traditional story of some trees with a dream and God with a plan.

The Youth Choir will present a series of skits, vignettes, solos, and anthems for Youth Sunday, April 30. Because of Communiversity there will be one service that day, at 9:30 a.m. Both choirs will reprise their musicals for Communiversity at 2 p.m.

The children’s musical follows the adventures of three trees — bringing to life the traditional story of some trees with a dream and God with a plan. The first tree dreams of holding great treasure; the second tree longs to become a mighty ship, and the third tree just wants to stay in the forest and point people to God. Told through story and song, the congregation is reminded that even when we can’t see the forest for the trees, there is no prayer that is too small for God.

It’s a good story but trees can’t possibly have social relationships, right? We grownups would scoff at that idea and say merely that this musical is an imaginative way to present Christian truths.

Yet in “The Hidden Life of Trees,” an international bestseller, forester and author Peter Wohlleben convincingly makes the case that, yes, the forest is a social network. He draws on groundbreaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.

As we learn more about our world, we learn that God has amazing plans. We look forward to April 23, when the children will teach us about God.

Sing with Us! Open house September 7



Watch a master teacher at work! See and hear the Children’s Choir from Princeton United Methodist Church in rehearsal. This clip — warming up their voices — was filmed by Tom Shelton for a national webinar he’ll give on August 25.

Please share this with families you know: Tom Shelton offers an introductory session on Wednesday, September 7, at 4:30 p.m. (kindergarten and first grade) and at 5:30 p.m. (second through fifth grade). The open house for youth (grades 6-12) is Sunday, September 11, 5 p.m. Shelton teaches the youngest children, ages three and four, during their Sunday School class. Parking information here.  For info, call 609-924-2613 or email Tom@princetonumc.org.

A sought-after conductor, educator, and composer, Tom Shelton welcomes everyone to his choirs at PUMC; there is no audition and no participation fee. Through music of the Christian faith, PUMC choristers learn good singing techniques and music theory; they participate in worship monthly, present a musical in the spring, and sing at special services throughout the year.

Here’s a great example of how music education develops singers’ minds:

Do you know a child who could love music? Invite them to PUMC’s choirs!