Parables is a worship ensemble from Goshen College, that combines music, original drama and personal stories to create an engaging worship experience designed to inspire, comfort and challenge. Members are senior Julian Harnish, juniors Aidan Friesen and Jonah Yoder, and sophomores Rebecca Choi, Yejin Kim, Lauren Myers, Sharada Weaver, and Matthew Smucker.

What is one memorable experience so far?

Yoder: Definitely going on our Fall Break Tour was a lot of fun. We went to Eastern Mennonite University, Washington D.C., Hyattsville [Maryland], State College [Pennsylvania], and Kidron [Ohio]. We performed multiple times in most places. The best part was traveling in the bus together and exploring the National Zoo in D.C. on my birthday!

Choi: There was one day when we got to explore the D.C. area unsupervised. We ended up using the train a lot to get around. Every train we went in, we would sit with a different member. It was super neat to see the group trying to communicate with one another in a crowded train.

Myers: Fall break was so much fun. We hadn’t spent a lot of time together and so it was nice to get to know one another. When we first met each together after the summer at Marcia Yost’s lake house, we played two truths and a lie. Then Rebecca fell through the porch.

Friesen: A memorable experience for me would be during our first week. The group came over to my house, East Hall, and we made omelets and breakfast for the day since we had 8 hours of rehearsal.

Smucker: During fall break, we went on tour to Washington D.C. While we were there, we visited the National Zoo and found an exhibit with information on elephants. A part of our program involves an elephant skit, so naturally, we were very excited. Along with a platform that compares your weight to the weight of an elephant, there was a speaker that you could yell into to compare your voice to the sound an elephant makes. We joked about trying it, and out of nowhere, Lauren presses the button and screams louder than I thought humanly possible. After all the people in the room stopped staring at us, we played the slowed-down recording and it sounded almost indistinguishable to an elephant.

What makes this group unique?

Kim: I feel like Parables this year is much more diverse than it has ever been. By diverse I mean cultural backgrounds, nationalities, musicalities, personalities and different strengths that each member brings to the group.

Yoder: I think the thing that makes this group different than other previous Parables groups is the strong bond we have with each other. Every single one of us enjoys working together and making music and performing together. We each bring a unique perspective and different talents to the group and we all just kind of “click” together.

Weaver: Everyone in the group is very different. I had a difficult time imagining our personalities coming together, but it has been a really enriching experience to connect with everyone.

Why do you enjoy spending time together?

Myers: We are all different so we surprise each other a lot, which is enjoyable. At this point it doesn’t feel like a rehearsal, but more like hanging out with friends.

Smucker: We’re the recipe for a good time. Lauren’s got all of Shrek 2 memorized. Yejin has the voice of a rock star and a karaoke microphone. Becca can do this weird muted throat singing thing. Julian drops the wittiest and subtlest jokes. Sharada is great at finding herself in awkward situations and recounting them. Jonah can do Larry’s voice from Veggie Tales really well. Aidan has lots of Bluetooth speakers named “Uncle Tio” for some reason. I have a recorder. I challenge you to find something we can’t do.

What does the theme mean

to you?

Kim: In this political and social climate, community and diversity, becoming “Together as One” is difficult. Having our program based on this theme makes these ideas more relatable for the audience and for the Parables members as well, and I hope that every place we go and perform we can bring a new perspective and something to share with others.

Weaver: The theme of community and diversity is very meaningful, especially since my own family is very diverse. Those two words are very important in my spiritual and personal journey, and I feel that it is appropriate for everyone in the group since we all come from different types of backgrounds.

Choi: It’s really interesting because our theme “Together as One” is a great phrase to think about as not only people, but also as the Parables group. We all come from different communities so it is nice to see that our theme is possible. Diversity is a gift, but also acknowledging that it isn’t easy is also another thing as well.

Friesen: To me [the theme] means that we all need to work together and that we are stronger together. Everyone is included in this togetherness no matter your background, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender. Everyone is the same and equal.