My name is Eric Vollen, and I’m the new marketing manager for Worship & Music at Augsburg Fortress. One of the products I work with, both at the publishing house and in my church, is Prelude Music Planner, and I’d like to take some time to share with you how Prelude has helped my workflow as a church music leader.
I lead a youth choir at Grace University Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, a congregation that’s rooted in the Lutheran tradition of worship, as well as in other creative and innovative forms of worship. At Grace, we value congregational participation and excellence in music and preaching.
A youth choir at Grace has been a long time in the making; we’ve had a strong children’s choir for young singers through fifth grade, but have been without a choir for these middle school youth to “graduate” to. Just three months in, my youth choir is currently six girls ranging from sixth to eighth grade—a lovely treble choir, and they’re all music readers.
For their first Sunday in October, I had them sing a unison hymn with piano accompaniment, as well as lead the gospel acclamation by singing the cantor verse with the assembly joining on the Alleluia. It was a beautiful start for their first presentation, and I’m excited for our year of making music together.
This was an easy Sunday to plan. At our next rehearsal, however, one singer asked, “When are we going to harmonize?” So I started looking ahead to what might be out there for a two-part treble choir, at a more easy level, and something that’s appropriate for their next music presentation in Advent.
Being this is a startup choir, I already know there’s not much available in my church’s existing music library, especially for a youth choir. Looking ahead, I knew my youth choir is scheduled to sing the third Sunday in Advent, and so in November, I started to search for their anthem, as well as see how I could include them in leading the day’s music with the assembly. Enter Prelude Music Planner.
Prelude has a rich library search tool, so after creating a new “plan,” I started my search by filtering the lectionary day and year: “Third Sunday in Advent” and “Year A.” I refined my search even more by filtering “Treble or Male choir” within Choral/Vocal. I was even able to choose skill level by filtering “easy–medium.”
One of the results was “Joy to the World” by Aaron David Miller from The New Gloria Deo: Music for Small Choirs (Augsburg Fortress, 2010). I’ve not sung or conducted any of Aaron David Miller’s works, but I know he’s a prolific composer with a strong following of music leaders and singers. Prelude allowed me to preview not just one—or the first three—pages, but the full octavo. With its simple melody and lovely piano accompaniment, two-part harmony, and with a glimpse of the tune Antioch (Joy to the World) throughout, it’s the perfect anthem for that Sunday—and it satisfies my singers’ eagerness to harmonize!
I’ll only need eight copies of this octavo for my singers, accompanist, and me, so once I entered that value, I clicked “Download," saved the PDF to my hard drive, and printed my copies—all in less than 5 minutes! I now have an anthem ready for my choir to sing at their rehearsal, and one that I know will enrich the worship experience for them—and the assembly—in Advent. And I didn’t have to go to a music store, place an online order, or purchase multiple copies of The New Gloria Deo collection. (But I just might!) Now on to finding the right service music . . .
I hope you’re able to see how easy it is to plan music that’s perfect for your worship service with Prelude Music Planner. Blessings to you and your music ministry!