Prayer Through Song: Carter Moote’s Gift

Carter with her sister, Shyla, at Courtney Baker’s wedding last September.

Taking a risk and having the courage to share a talent in front of others is one valuable decision that 11-year-old Carter Moote made when she decided to start singing the responsorial psalms at Sacred Heart Church during Sunday services. Carter, a Lebanon resident and Lebanon Middle School student, took the leap when Sacred Heart’s music director, Alice Maleski, asked her if she’d be willing to sing for the congregation.

“I’d never been presented with an opportunity to share one of my talents,” Carter says. “I don’t really understand why I said ‘yes,’ I just said it. I just felt like I was meant to do it.” This leap of faith became a way for Carter to share her faith and love for her church community, and it’s helped grow her confidence over the past two years.

In her spare time, Carter Moote loves to bake!

In her spare time, Carter Moote loves to bake!

“When I’m up on the altar [singing], it makes me feel like I’m close to God and it feels important that I get to be up there using my gift to praise God,” Carter explains. This role within the church is typically reserved for adults, and Carter is one of the first children that her mother, Courtney Baker, can remember singing psalms since she herself started attending services as a child growing up in Lebanon.

“It makes me really proud that she has chosen to use her voice and her singing gifts to celebrate her faith in this way,” says Baker. “I’m taken aback by her poise. She’s constantly surprising me with what she’s able to do.”

In the Catholic tradition, psalms, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament, each carry a specific meaning within their verses, and “you’re not just singing a psalm, you’re praising the Creator,” Carter explains. In worship, psalms serve as prayers that reflect a wide array of human circumstance and emotion.

Courtney Baker, Carter Moote, and Deborah Carney (Courtney’s mom andCarter’s grandmother) on Easter Sunday at Sacred Heart Church.

Courtney Baker, Carter Moote, and Deborah Carney (Courtney’s
mom and Carter’s grandmother) on Easter Sunday at Sacred
Heart Church.

Since Carter has started singing at Sacred Heart Church, she’s been inspired to share her vocal talents elsewhere, as well. Carter was nominated by her music teacher at Lebanon Middle School to participate in a musical performance in Providence, Rhode Island, which was held in January by the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). “I don’t think that would have happened had it not started with the church,” Baker says. “I think it’s really built her confidence in regard to singing and every other aspect [of her life].”

Outside of the church, Carter also exercises her voice in her school chorus and at the Upper Valley Music Center as part of their “Singing for the Stage” program, and this summer, Carter plans to join the Musical Theatre Lab at Northern Stage. She’s also a member of the local Girl Scout troop, and in her spare time, she enjoys playing sports and baking with her grandmother, Deborah Carney.

For Carter, singing for the Sacred Heart Church community has been an opportunity to share her faith and offer her gift of song in worship. “It makes me feel special in a way…It’s not just like normal singing,” she says. “I’m doing it for an important cause.”