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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Free Downloads? You Bet! — Maximizing Your Prelude Membership

Posted on Oct 19, 2016 5:03:53 PM by Jennifer Baker-Trinity in Assembly Song, in Hymnody, in Instruments and Ensembles, in Music Ministry, in Planning

It’s Wednesday at 5 p.m., two hours before choir rehearsal. You’ve just found out that an excellent soprano will be joining the choir for the following Sunday. Descants, something not often possible with a limited choir, would be a wonderful enhancement to the day’s hymnody, and with Prelude Music Planner, you have access to rich, soaring descants from Vocal Descants for the Church Year. Your Prelude membership to the rescue! Simply search by hymn name or tune in the title/theme/keywords search area, and filter “hymn/song” and “descant.” You can view and download the descants you need without using any of your Prelude points! Two possibilities for Christ the King are “Beautiful Savior” (ELW 838) and “Jesus Shall Reign” (ELW 434).

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Singing on September 11

Posted on Aug 17, 2016 2:34:22 PM by Jennifer Baker-Trinity in Assembly Song

As worship planners, you consider multiple threads when weaving together assembly song: scripture, season of the church year, congregational life, world events, and more. A hymn might be especially relevant to the lectionary texts, but is unfamiliar to the congregation. A celebratory hymn might have been planned, but then unexpected disaster shakes the community. It takes clarity, wisdom, and sensitivity to make the best choices in each circumstance for each context.

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The Splendor of the Earth: Worship Planning and Ecological Stewardship

Posted on Jun 2, 2016 2:13:26 PM by Jennifer Baker-Trinity in Assembly Song, in Hymnody, in Music Ministry, in Planning

On the fifth Sunday of Easter in our congregation, we, in company with many other lectionary-based Christian churches, sang Psalm 148. In this cosmic song of praise, all ages are invited to join the earth with its sea monsters, fire, hail, snow, fog, wind, mountains, hills, trees, wild beasts, and birds. “The splendor of the LORD is over earth and heaven,” we sang as a refrain. What a marvelous testimony to the fullness of God in all things!

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What Is Your Philosophy of Worship and Music?

Posted on Feb 8, 2016 9:30:43 AM by Tim Shaw in Assembly Song, in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in Hymnody, in Planning, in Potpourri

Anyone who has interviewed for a church music position knows some questions are almost guaranteed to be asked: “How do you motivate volunteers? What style of music is your favorite? What does the ideal relationship between clergy and church musician look like? How do you feel about choir robes?” Tough questions, but not too difficult to answer. There is that one dreaded question, though, which is seemingly impossible to answer: “What is your philosophy of worship and music?” Whether you have been asked this question directly or not, you do have a philosophy that manifests itself in how you practice church music. Spending some time developing—even writing out—your own philosophy of worship and music is a valuable exercise that can have a direct, positive impact on your music ministry. Try this on your own, or together as a worship/music committee.

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All Hymns Were Once New: New Hymns for This Church Year

Posted on Dec 9, 2015 4:43:23 PM by Jennifer Baker-Trinity in Assembly Song, in Hymnody, in Planning

The radio program Composer’s Datebook regularly signs off with the phrase, “Reminding you that all music was once new.”

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Thanksgiving: The Antidote to Worry

Posted on Nov 20, 2015 3:57:15 PM by Tim Shaw in Assembly Song, in Choral Techniques and Repertoire

When it comes to church music ministry, there is plenty to worry about! Will enough singers show up on Sunday morning? Will the assembly be pleased with the music I’ve chosen? Will the organ cipher sound during my prelude? Will my choir members notice I’m not well prepared for rehearsal? Will the sound system work right? Will next year’s budget be cut—again? Often, we who are in charge worry too much, and our worry spills over to our volunteers. But, is it healthy to approach our service to the church in this way?

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Singing with the Saints: Commemorations and Music Planning

Posted on Oct 8, 2015 2:53:48 PM by Jennifer Baker-Trinity in Assembly Song, in Planning

A hymn by William Irons (1812–1883) begins by calling us to “Sing with all the saints in glory.” We typically think of singing this and similar hymns on All Saints Day, but Evangelical Lutheran Worship contains a number of hymns under the topic heading, “Festivals and Commemorations.” What is a commemoration and how can our worship and music planning include them?

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Ten Tips for Introducing New Music

Posted on Mar 3, 2015 1:17:19 PM by Augsburg Fortress in assembly, in Assembly Song, in choir, in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in ELW, in festival settings, in new music

There are churches in all denominations in this country where congregations do sing well, and it is always because there is at least one person who is actively expecting it.
—Alice Parker, Melodious Accord

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Gospel Acclamations for Lent through Holy Trinity

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 10:43:21 AM by Augsburg Fortress in Assembly Song, in holy trinity, in lent, in Planning, in Potpourri

The gospel acclamation is a high point of celebration in the assembly. It is the assembly’s opportunity to welcome the reading of the gospel in its midst, to rejoice for the great gift of God’s word, and to gather around the reading. It is an anticipation of the gospel reading to come and a response to the word it has already heard. The choir may have a role in leading the acclamation, providing a descant or singing the proper verse. However, on most days it is not advisable for the choir to sing the entire acclamation in the assembly’s place (the days of Lent and Holy Week may be an exception, when the proper acclamations are less easily sung by an assembly). This is the assembly’s response, and at least the alleluia needs the entire assembly’s voice.

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