Prelude Blog

Refreshing Your Wedding Music for Organ

Posted on May 21, 2024 9:00:00 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Music Ministry, in music, in wedding, in weddings, in marriage

Whether you have played one hundred weddings or three, you may dread playing Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune” or Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” even one more time. There is a reason couples keep choosing tried and true wedding pieces—they are good pieces of music that have lasted for centuries—but there are obviously many other options, and it’s helpful to explore them.

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The Benefits of Choral Collaborations

Posted on Apr 11, 2024 9:00:00 AM by Chris Cherwien in Music Ministry, in music

Several months ago, Paul Stever, a colleague from a neighboring church, contacted me about the possibility of joining our choirs together for an evening service on Pentecost Sunday. The service would feature Kim Andre Arneson’s beautiful “Holy Spirit Mass.” The National Lutheran Choir premiered this work in 2017 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Washington, D.C. Since Pentecost is early this year, and this is a festival that often gets shortchanged, he suggested that this was the perfect year. Paul had put a great deal of thought into what this collaboration would take. This work would be difficult to do with its divisi without a larger number of singers than either of our churches have.

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Using the Nairobi Statement in Worship Planning

Posted on Mar 7, 2024 9:00:00 AM by Andrea Baxter in Music Ministry, in music, in culture, in worship, in Cultural

As a music educator and children’s choir director, I know that it is very important to expose children to a variety of repertoire. Variety means ensuring that they are singing in different modes, meters, and languages. It means including something that was written generations ago, as well as something that is newly composed. It means exposing children to rich, poetic texts that need exploration to understand and texts that are simple and repetitive with the potential to easily remain with them during the week. Not only does variety in music selection keep things interesting, but it ensures a curriculum that weaves a thread of connection to different times, places, and styles.

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Practicing and Noticing Courage as a Church Musician

Posted on Oct 10, 2023 9:00:00 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Music Ministry, in music

I recently commented to a friend that a singer in our church’s youth choir was the bravest young man I know. The last time he was in choir was before COVID, when he had sung treble beautifully. Now his voice has changed, and he is struggling to figure out how to work this new instrument, which feels and sounds so different. An additional challenge is that his peers are reluctant to join the choir, so he sings alone in the bass register. I admire his tenacity and his positive attitude, even when he makes mistakes. I say that he has courage. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Of course, singing in a choir is not dangerous, and he doesn’t seem to be afraid, but it is difficult for him.

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Celebrating the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

Posted on Sep 7, 2023 9:00:00 AM by Omaldo Perez in Holidays

Until recently, The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels carried a hefty cultural weight. With its humble fifth-century beginnings and subsequent popularization across Northern Europe, September 29 has played a prominent role in the calendars of the English-speaking world: Michaelmas, as it is also known, marked the start of the fall term in academic circles and jurisprudence practice, a notable temporal horizon in the lives of ordinary people. But times have changed, and observing it today may strike some as a relic from a bygone era, a celebration a bit out of step with the Christological thrust and focus of the modern liturgical calendar. But let’s not place our attention there. Instead, let us look at how this festival allows us to take an autumnal look at God’s marvelous works of grace in the history of salvation. This year, September 29 falls on a Friday, which allows for the possibility of a transfer to those who would like to mark this special occasion and have the whole assembly take in how God has acted on our behalf (through God’s special envoys).

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The Rhythm of Rehearsals

Posted on Jul 12, 2023 9:00:00 AM by Chris Cherwien in Music Ministry

Planning and executing effective and enjoyable rehearsals is an art! Too often, I am tempted to do other work and not carve out time to thoughtfully plan each choir’s rehearsal. Experience is my friend but should not be an excuse for skipping this important work. When we only have one rehearsal per week, we have to make the most of every minute. It feels like so much to do and so little time to do it in. We have to prioritize and map out the allotted time. There is a rhythm to the rehearsal that allows the singers/ringers to warm up their brains/voices and move toward the most challenging pieces. Effective rehearsals model a beautiful musical phrase.

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A Summer Celebration with John the Baptist

Posted on Jun 6, 2023 9:00:00 AM by Omaldo Perez in Music Ministry, in Summer, in john the baptist

The commemoration of John the Baptist falls, as it has since the fourth century, six months before Christmas Eve, on June 24. The annual remembrance, three days after the summer solstice, is a calendrical reflection of the relationship between the last Old Testament prophet and the Messiah, the Long-Awaited One.

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New Life from Death

Posted on May 11, 2023 9:00:00 AM by Andrea Baxter

I’ve been a part of more than one conversation in the recent past that involves sadness about decline in the church. Many, perhaps most, of us are experiencing decreased numbers of singers, worshipers, and volunteers, and it’s easy to allow feelings of frustration and disappointment to spiral out of control. I’ve also noticed that some of us may feel as though we are somehow responsible for addressing or resolving this challenge.

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Music Suggestions for Fewer Musicians on Pentecost

Posted on Apr 25, 2023 9:00:00 AM by Sarah Hawbecker in Music Ministry, in Pentecost

This year, the festival of Pentecost falls on a holiday weekend in the United States. Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of summer vacation, and many people choose to travel. As a church musician, I know that it is not wise to plan for a four-part anthem with brass quartet accompaniment on a Sunday like that. So how does one make a festival Sunday feel special when one has limited resources?

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Building Trusting Relationships

Posted on Mar 7, 2023 9:15:07 AM by Chris Cherwien in Music Ministry, in relationship, in trust

Recipients of our appreciation are apt to express their own gratitude to others, lengthening the unending, golden chain of connections-in-goodness that stretches across the world. —Mary Ford-Grabowsky

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