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.Read More > >
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.Read More > >
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?Read More > >
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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There are certain seasons that are inherently stressful, and we are currently in one of them. There were Christmases past in which it was difficult for me to keep the proper perspective. I felt overworked and underappreciated, and the added pressures I put on myself to have a beautifully decorated home and provide a “perfect” holiday for my family only produced feelings of personal failure and silent resentment toward others whom I believed had it easier than I. Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone?
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Theologian and teacher Marva Dawn once said that children are the fingers and toes of the body of Christ that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians. The metaphor works beautifully for many reasons, not least of which is the wiggling nature of both fingers/toes and children. Dawn’s point was to drive home the importance of children in the worshiping body; children bring unique characteristics of innocence, openness, joy, playfulness, and enthusiasm, among others. When those qualities are missing in worship, the body is not whole.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.
This is the night! The Vigil of Easter is the heart of our celebration of the Three Days and the pinnacle of the church’s year. We gather around a pillar of fire, hear ancient stories of our faith, welcome new siblings in Christ at the font, and share food and drink. We proclaim Christ crucified and risen!Read More > >
I take great care in selecting my organ preludes and postludes for each Sunday. A prelude prepares the gathered community for worship. Whether the listener prays, reflects, or simply listens, they are still an active participant, and, as such, I believe they deserve the best the musician can give them. Likewise, the postlude, as the last thing they hear on the way out of church, is an opportunity to lift their spirits as they reflect on the worship that just ended and prepare to go about their week.Read More > >
A few months ago, I was struck by a bit of information: I learned trees in a forest are connected and “speak” to each other using the mycorrhizal network under the soil. The exchange of chemicals between mycelium and trees—as well as their symbiotic relationship—as it turned out, form a beautiful, vibrant, and interdependent community.Read More > >