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.Read More > >
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven …
The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for everything. How we choose to live in each of these times affects our own well-being and that of others. I can relate to this passage more as I have gotten older, and I can relate to it in my vocation as a church musician as well. Here are a few thoughts:
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Well, here we are. Another choir season has come to an end, and the summer months are upon us. The Sundays keep coming and the planning never stops. How are you doing? Now is an ideal time to check in with yourself. What do you need in the next several weeks to restore, energize, and enliven you and your music ministry?Read More > >
Many of the hymns and songs from All Creation Sings, our new worship and song supplement, are available as choral anthems, either from Augsburg Fortress or from other music publishers. As publishers of All Creation Sings, Augsburg Fortress staff have curated a helpful listing of almost fifty anthems in various voicings and styles.
“Anybody can write . . . that is easy, but to write with a specific audience in mind, using the right amount of amusement and persuasion, to address them in a manner that is relevant and insightful, while offering practical advice in a convivial manner—that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
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“Now we wait. We wait for the child to be born.
We wait for the newness that God is bringing into the world.”
Advent is a season of anticipation, longing, and hopefulness. This year, after almost two years in a pandemic, these themes, and the emotions that they invoke, are heightened. We long to see signs in our lives and in our communities that Jesus is present. We need to hear the promises that only God can give.Read More > >
One year, I went to a workshop led by the guru of all things having to do with children’s choirs in the church, Helen Kemp. Helen said something simple that rocked my world that year. She said, “Routine relieves anxiety.” In fact, she had a big, beautiful poster with those words that I can still see in my mind’s eye. Helen already knew what I would soon learn and put into practice. When children know what to expect—when they know that the routine of the rehearsal will include things like sitting in a seat labeled with their name; a sung, responsive roll call; a warm-up; a hymn; anthems; then a closing prayer, for example—they come to rehearsal without fear of the unknown. This healthy, predictable environment provides a safe place to be open and learn.Read More > >
“Spirit, open my heart to the joy and pain of living. As you love may I love, in receiving and in giving. Spirit, open my heart.” (ACS 1043)Read More > >
As a pianist who is not an organist, I sometimes lament the inability to aid the assembly’s song with sustained sound. After all, the attack of a hymn’s final chord is immediately followed by a decay, or dying away, of the sound on the piano. My experience has been that congregations often follow that lead and pull back with their voices, rather than hold on to a final chord with gusto.
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