Members of the choir at St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Lexington started singing hymns Friday night.
They sang for three hours Friday. And they sang for 12 hours Saturday.
By the time the Hymn-athon resumed at 3 p.m. Sunday, the choir members had sung almost 500 hymns. And they planned to push their total to about 780 before finally quitting sometime Sunday night.
There was a method to all this musical madness. The marathon was to help raise money for St. Michael's choir to travel to New York City, where it will sing at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on April 25. The choir has 25 members, about 20 of whom will be making the trip.
"It's a great honor to be invited to sing at the cathedral, but these kinds of trips are not cheap. So we have to raise some money," said music director Ruth Witt.
Choir members recruited donors from within and outside the church, each of whom pledged at least a penny for each song sung during the Hymn-athon. Some people pledged more than that, Witt said.
Singers involved in the Hymn-athon ranged in age from 10 to 70.
One of them, Madeleine Baugh, said that everybody's throat was "a little gravelly" after 15 hours of singing.
All members of the choir couldn't be on hand for every minute of the Hymn-athon, so the number of people actually singing varied from time to time. Singers drank plenty of liquids and took periodic breaks. Nevertheless, everyone was pretty tired by mid-afternoon Sunday.
"People do have to save their voices," Witt said, noting that the choir sang for regular services Sunday morning in addition to the Hymn-athon. She said the choir would sing only one verse of each hymn Sunday afternoon to ease strained vocal cords.
"Right now, we're singing very gently" she said. "But we are singing."
The singers weren't the only ones getting some wear and tear. Witt, Mary Brinkman and Rupert Pickens took turns accompanying the choir on piano so that their fingers wouldn't give out.
Zach Davis, the one choir member who had sung every hymn since Friday night, said he was tired but still enthused heading into the home stretch of the Hymn-athon.
"It's a way to prepare for Lent," he said. "And there is a lot of good poetry in these songs."