Geneva′s campus is usually a bit quieter in the summer even with conferences and youth soccer camps well underway, but the week of June 18-23 was an exception thanks to 18 dedicated children and Crown & Covenant publications.
The atmosphere filled with song for two days as the group raised their voices-and their hands in this case-while a camera crew filmed them around campus for a Kids SIGN Psalms DVD scheduled for release at the end of 2007.
Catherine Metzger leads children in signing and singing Psalm 103 during the film shoot.
Near the conclusion of two days' labor, the children featured in Kids SIGN Psalms smile for the camera at the clock circle on McKee Lawn.
"The purpose of the video is instructional," said Lynne Gordon with Crown & Covenant. "We want kids to enjoy learning the Psalms of the Bible, and kinesthetic movement helps them learn them more easily."
When it is complete, the DVD will feature Catherine Metzger of Pittsburgh, Pa., teaching and leading the children in signing, as well as singing, various metrical Psalms from the Old Testament. With a target audience of eight-to-12-year-olds, the finished product will be aimed at Sunday School classes, vacation Bible schools, special-education formats and possibly adult settings, as well as private use. Gordon added that American Sign Language is more meaningful than simply doing any motions, and Metzger brought ASL knowledge to the project.
Geneva′s campus worked well for the film shoot, with the camera crew hopping from the steps of McCartney Library to the lawn in front of McKee Hall to the front yard of Fern Cliffe to take advantage of a variety of settings.
"When Eric [Filson, the videographer] saw Geneva′s campus, he said âthis is it,′" Gordon said.
Several of the DVD participants, ages six to 12, commented between filming and frisbee breaks that they enjoyed working on the Psalms but were relieved to see their efforts coming to an end.
"This is a big project," said Jennifer Dymond, a Geneva alum and mother of two participants, Ben and Taylor. "It′s really been a lot of work."
Participant Nathan Spear, 11, would agree. Besides working on the Psalms individually, the children have met roughly a dozen times since last fall to rehearse, he said.
"It′s really been hard," Spear said. "It′s been sort of fun though too."
Cheryl Johnston, spokesperson for Geneva, said the college community enjoyed having the children around campus and is excited to be the visual backdrop for the video.
"The Kids SIGN Psalms DVD is a wonderful project," Johnston said. "We are honored to have this opportunity to share our resources in a way that can help youngsters to discover the beauty and truth of God′s word, and to extend worship to a deeper level."
Members of this year′s New Song, Geneva′s touring music ministry, got a quick lesson in Psalm-signing from the children. New Song leaves in early July for a six-week tour to destinations across the United States and Canada.
For more information about Crown & Covenant publications, go to www.crownandcovenant.com.
Filson, of Indianapolis, Ind., is also in town for a special screening of his new feature film, The Broken Road. That event is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at Covenant Fellowship Reformed Presbyterian Church, 1300 Swissvale Ave., Wilkinsburg, PA 15221. For more information about that project, go to www.TheBrokenRoadMovie.com.