Prelude Blog

Back to Basics: Leading Assembly Song

Posted on Oct 29, 2018 4:29:29 PM by Chad Fothergill in Assembly Song, in assembly

Throughout the late summer and early fall, I had opportunity to review several recordings of worship services at which I served as an assembly song leader from the keyboard. Many of these recordings were made during the 2018 Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival at Valparaiso University; in other instances, I reviewed livestream recordings from congregations where I had served as a substitute. Hearing these was an excruciating, yet enlightening experience: seemingly catastrophic moments—a sloppy phrase lift here, a wrong pedal note there—were barely noticeable while, on the other hand, what I thought had been suitable tempi and registrations seemed to inappropriately drag, rush, screech, or mumble.

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Meet the Composer: Anne Krentz Organ

Posted on Sep 10, 2018 4:10:00 PM by Anne Krentz Organ in Potpourri

Anne Krentz Organ is one of the most popular composers in the Augsburg Fortress catalog. In this interview, we learn how she got started in church music, what she does today, and how she thinks about the creative process.

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Key Signatures and Effective Assembly Singing

Posted on Aug 10, 2018 4:13:00 PM by Tim Shaw in Composing and arranging

Those who accompany singing in worship services have many factors to consider in order to lead effectively, including: text, tempo, mood, dynamics, articulation, registration, and key. This last musical parameter, the key signature, is often overlooked when accompanying assembly singing. We may alter the tempo to encourage better singing; we may change registration from verse to verse to build to a climax; we may underscore textual imagery by playing with a different articulation. We may even modulate up a half-step and play a re-harmonization to boost singing on the final verse. But, how often do we think about the written key signature as something that can be changed entirely to enable better participation from the gathered assembly?

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Christmas in July: Piano/Organ Repertoire for Advent/Christmas

Posted on Jul 10, 2018 4:19:00 PM by Tim Shaw in planning, in advent, in christmas

I love the holiday season—even though it can be a stressful time—and I love the music that accompanies Advent and Christmas. Every year, I look forward to taking out my collection of seasonal music and playing through it again, and it always feels like spending time with good friends I haven’t seen for a while. It’s July, so you may (or may not!) be in planning mode for the upcoming year—I hope you’ll consider programming some of the following piano and organ repertoire. These are some of my favorite resources, and I find myself turning to them over and over again. Most of these titles are available through Prelude Music Planner. Some are in the public domain and are available (for free!) through the International Music Score Library Project (www.imslp.org).*

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The Augsburg Chorale Book: Five Hundred Years of Singing (and Counting!)

Posted on Jun 10, 2018 4:24:00 PM by Zebulon Highben in reformation

The party’s over. 2017 has come and gone, and with it, the sesquicentennial of Martin Luther and the Reformation. The concerts, lectures, and ecumenical worship celebrations have concluded. The exhibits have come down, and the newly made banners and paraments have been put away. A Mighty Fortress is Our God is taking a well-earned rest.

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Summer Music

Posted on Apr 25, 2018 10:55:41 AM by Anne Krentz Organ in Uncategorized

Do your choirs take a break over the summer months? I know of several churches in which the choirs continue to sing all year round, but more frequently I hear of choirs being “off” for the summer. If this is the case for you, rather than viewing it as a loss, consider it an opportunity to branch out and incorporate a variety of other vocal and instrumental ensembles. Tap the home-grown musical talent in your church and community.

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Choral Music for Holy Week: Sunday of the Passion and the Three Days

Posted on Mar 15, 2018 9:49:23 AM by Jonathan Kohrs in Planning

It goes without saying that Holy Week is one of the busiest times of the church year for choirs and their directors. But along with the high demands of singing for multiple services within the span of six or seven days (let alone the “eighth day” of Easter!) come the great rewards of proclaiming the Gospel through a wide variety of music in the most dramatic liturgies of the church year.

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A "Choral Ecology" in Worship Music Planning

Posted on Feb 27, 2018 5:05:29 PM by John Sall in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in Planning

Within our congregations and personal lives, we have increasingly clear understanding of the ways our personal decisions around our use of resources matter. How can we carry this sense of stewardship into the planning and care we exhibit for resources of wisdom, people, talent, time, and connection in our worship services? Over recent years I have grown to plan anthems, service music, and other choir roles with a much clearer view of the “ecosystem” volunteer church choirs exist in. Intentional planning with this awareness has helped to provide increased comfort and musical consistency in the growth and leadership of my choirs, it has broadened our choral and congregational repertoire without (much) resistance, and it has helped to deepen theological and liturgical connections in an era of widely varied attendance patterns. Others have articulated well the introduction of new hymns into a congregation’s repertoire, so I will not repeat that process here but focus directly on choral leadership.

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The Lutheran Roots of an Epiphany Vespers

Posted on Jan 18, 2018 9:21:55 AM by Kile Smith in Composing and arranging, in Potpourri

Ten years ago this month, the most important premiere of my life took place. Piffaro, the Renaissance Band commissioned from me a concert-length Vespers.

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Making Biblical Stories Come Alive through Song:  Sing the Stories of Jesus

Posted on Dec 28, 2017 9:30:03 AM by Karol Kinard Kimmell in Music Ministry

One of my favorite collections of songs for children is the book Sing the Stories of Jesus by John Horman and Mary Nelson Keithahn. It is chock-full of songs based on various stories from the Gospels, some well-known stories and some that are often overlooked.  Several songs are simple enough to be used for Sunday School groups, but all are perfect for young singers in choirs.  They cover events of Jesus' life from the angels' Gloria at his birth to Breakfast by the Sea after the resurrection. Instructions for teaching are included for each song as well as an accompaniment CD if you need it. Over time, I have taught and directed many of these songs, but I'd like to share the way I have taught, embellished, and performed four of my favorites from this collection.

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