Indiana Amish church member Merlyn Yoder, who previously wrote on the Ausbund and singing for church ministers, returns today with a little food for thought.

Merlyn’s piece gave me something to think about, at least. As you go through your daily grind, you never know when an impressionable someone may be watching.

While going through life we all have role models. We have our various heroes that we admire for this reason or that reason. Not very long into our journey of life we probably become an example to someone else whether we like it or not. What kind of example am I?

As a boy I never paid too much attention to the tunes of our Ausbund. I heard them but did not try to learn them. We had music class in the public school I went to. This class did not get graded and my interest was sporadic and occasional. I was self-conscious of my voice and the back row was welcome to me.

Upon deciding to join church I also tried to participate more in singing. My girlfriend (future wife) came from a singing family and that put me on the spot. After marriage we moved into the second house at my parents’ for several years. Now we live halfway between both of our parents, yet we remain in my home district.

Buggy in Snowstorm

Part of our decision to not move far away were my heroes. The two Vorsingers [song leaders] from my boyhood were still on the job. They were older, seasoned, and just seemed to know everything about which tunes were appropriate with which song. There were also several men a few years older than I. These often went to our biweekly practice singing. They seemed to enjoy themselves and I wanted to belong.

Time went on and the two Vorsingers retired (currently one is in a wheelchair after a stroke. The other is still very active at 79 with 50 calves, gardening and farm repairs in his shop). The next generation was tapped and my father (another hero!) is now head Vorsinger. He has a partner and there are two others that will fill in if necessary.

Now I am no longer the youngest. There are others that come to the practice sessions. It is pleasant to see that they are willing learners and also very capable. One would imagine these young guys have the same heroes as I do, but what if I am also looked up to?

I hope to just do my part in the continuation of our traditions. I am among the generation that holds these traditions in their hands. Some of our traditions existed long before my time and will continue long after I’m gone if time goes on.

I imagine I am just one example of many more similar scenarios in our community. I suspect that most of us are only vaguely aware of the importance of our role. May future generations enjoy what we have today.


Merlyn, his wife, and six children live in northern Indiana. He has a job in the RV industry and his hobbies include woodworking, working on engines, beekeeping, orcharding, and history – especially the study of the Ausbund.

Image: ShipshewanaIndiana

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