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pcnd5584

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There is much good common sense in this post, Dulciana.

 

I would wish to add that the style of worship which is prevalent in a particular church should also be taken in to account.

 

I have seen several cases of churches introducing a particular style of music in order to reach young people (for example). In every case, all it did was to alienate most of the existing congregation and cause a virtually irrevocable divide in the church community as a whole. In most cases, many of the new younger church attendees lost interest after a few months, when they had stopped being the centre of attention.

 

I am not naïve enough to believe that this is necessarily the case in every church which tries to encourage younger people to join their congregation.

 

However, it is clear that Lee has a particular type of inner-city situation in which what he is commendably attempting to do, whilst being totally appropriate for that church is, by corollary, not applicable to many other situations.

 

Perhaps there will come a time when each of us is able to find a church in which we feel comfortable (in the sense of the style of worship), without it being spoiled by well-meaning efforts of someone who wishes to change the ethos of the worship. In this, I am not referring to Lee!

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I have seen several cases of churches introducing a particular style of music in order to reach young people (for example). In every case, all it did was to alienate most of the existing congregation and cause a virtually irrevocable divide in the church community as a whole. In most cases, many of the new younger church attendees lost interest after a few months, when they had stopped being the centre of attention.

 

 

I've found that most congregations want something that has a definite style or direction, and for that style to be done well.

 

e.g. be high church, have a cathedral-style choir, use NEH and sing Psalms.

or be "Praze" style - have a worship group, sing Kendrick, put your arms in the air.

 

Ok, there is room for a little less extreme worship than either of these (by extreme I mean in terms of polar opposites, rather than implying that either of these are a bad thing).

 

If a church does either of the above, then their congregation is likely to be happy. They know what they're getting. They have an identity.

 

However, go for wishy washy middle of the road Anglican that tries to combine a cathedral style choir, sing Anglican chant, etc with Kendrick, and you're stuffed. This seems to be what many churches do in an attempt to "modernise". It leaves the congregation with no real identity, and turns away many people. i.e. "Praze" folks don't get enough arm waving, and the die-hard Anglicans don't get enough misery and torture B)

 

I honestly believe that a sense of identity is what churches need to grow - if they do ONE thing, and do it well, then congregations will feel fulfilled, provided that style fits with the individuals expectations and desires. Too many churches try to please all of the people, and they end up pleasing very few of the people, hardly ever.

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Precisely, pcnd and ajt. That's my underlying point, which is by using what you have in your congregation in terms of musical resources, the whole experience becomes more embracing and fulfilling for everyone concerned. In that way, yes, an individual congregation will develop its own style, if you will. When this situation is realised, debates about styles/quality of different music etc become much less important.

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I concur heartily with the two most recent posts by ajt and Dulciana.

 

As Adrian has said, the crux of the matter is that whatever is done is done well - and that it is in an homogenous style, for want of a better term.

 

I believe that a 'mix-and-match' approach is doomed from the outset - unless, of course, the congregation in question actually like the ecclesiastical equivalent of kippers and custard.

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I concur heartily with the two most recent posts by ajt and Dulciana.

 

As Adrian has said, the crux of the matter is that whatever is done is done well - and that it is in an homogenous style, for want of a better term.

 

I believe that a 'mix-and-match' approach is doomed from the outset - unless, of course, the congregation in question actually like the ecclesiastical equivalent of kippers and custard.

 

Great analogy! Kippers and custard indeed. Begs the question of whether Kendrick would be the kippers or the custard...

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I concur heartily with the two most recent posts by ajt and Dulciana.

 

As Adrian has said, the crux of the matter is that whatever is done is done well - and that it is in an homogenous style, for want of a better term.

 

I believe that a 'mix-and-match' approach is doomed from the outset - unless, of course, the congregation in question actually like the ecclesiastical equivalent of kippers and custard.

 

======================

 

If people want to make good music in a modern-style, they could do a lot worse than study what goes on at Crystal Cathedral, but it don't come cheap.

 

The Americans are the absolute masters of "middle of the road" music, which they present with style and panache.

 

It also implies that organists should be prepared to learn how to play light-music, which frankly, most cannot.

 

The Kendrick stuff may not be great music, but if you know just how to swing-it, it has a certain appeal, and opens up all sorts of opportunities for the addition of twiddly bits.

 

Interestingly, I was confronted with a very Irish worship-song, in a very ethnic Irish style, which I had to play on the fly during a morning mass. The Diocesan music adviser asked me if I would like him to accompany it, as I was sight-reading. I declined his kind offer, and instead, accompanied it with just a 4ft Flute in single notes....first the tune, and then with a sort of improvised melisma as they all began to get the hang of the tune.

 

Although I may sound conceited, it really came off superbly, and the Diocesan Advisor just uttered "Wow" at the end of it.

 

I suppose that's the benefit of knowing something about light music, and actually liking a lot of it a great deal. As with all accompaniment, you develop a musical feel for what works and what doesn't, and in this day and age, it really pays to get off the organ-bench and listen to other music.

 

Light music is all about being an arranger, and that is an art all to itself.

 

I still hate "praze musak" because the words are usually sick-making and still remain stuck in the evangelism of the 19th century.

 

I must get back to writing the words for my nuclear-age praise-song, "Jesus who glows in the dark"

 

B)

 

MM

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Well, OK, MM.

 

Actually, speaking personally, I do have some knowledge of music other than that which was written for a church organ - or a church choir!

 

For myself, I dislike what I think you mean by 'light music' - largely because I find that it is often neither one thing nor the other. However, I do like a lot of jazz (from, say, New Orleans through to the Modern Jazz Quartet), I also like blues, and a lot of rock music - from Dire Straits, Dylan, Clapton, through to more modern rock - even some Metallica.... I also like bands such as the Crash Test Dummies (Canadian) and other more recent groups. In case anyone is interested, I cannot abide rap - for several reasons, not the least of which are that I do not like listening to it - and I cannot see the point of it.

 

Before Lee starts again, no, I do not doubt that all the young people with whom he works probably hate organ music!

 

I have found that jazz and blues can also be a good influence when playing contemporary worship songs. Having said this, there are quite a number of examples in which the rhythm of the vocal line appears to be unnecessarily complex - this usually results in the congregation failing to sing it accurately as notated, however game their attempts.

 

Since this thread was originally seeking to ascertain what colleagues did with the 'dead' time during sermons (sorry, Tony!), I would like to know if anyone else had a similar experience to me on Easter Day. Having played for an 08h Communion (1662/1928), a Sung Mass (2000/home-tweaked) and a Choral Matins (1662/1928) the Rector preached at each service - and he preached the same sermon! This I personally found slightly objectionable. Aside from the fact that I could have delivered it myself at Matins (without the aid of notes), I took care to ensure that all my voluntaries were different - even at the fourth service (Choral Evensong 1662/1928).

 

Did anyone else have a similar experience?

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Well, OK, MM.

 

Actually, speaking personally, I do have some knowledge of music other than that which was written for a church organ - or a church choir!

 

For myself, I dislike what I think you mean by 'light music' - largely because I find that it is often neither one thing nor the other. However, I do like a lot of jazz (from, say, New Orleans through to the Modern Jazz Quartet), I also like blues, and a lot of rock music - from Dire Straits, Dylan, Clapton, through to more modern rock - even some Metallica.... I also like bands such as the Crash Test Dummies (Canadian) and other more recent groups. In case anyone is interested, I cannot abide rap - for several reasons, not the least of which are that I do not like listening to it - and I cannot see the point of it.

 

Before Lee starts again, no, I do not doubt that all the young people with whom he works probably hate organ music!

 

I have found that jazz and blues can also be a good influence when playing contemporary worship songs. Having said this, there are quite a number of examples in which the rhythm of the vocal line appears to be unnecessarily complex - this usually results in the congregation failing to sing it accurately as notated, however game their attempts.

 

Since this thread was originally seeking to ascertain what colleagues did with the 'dead' time during sermons (sorry, Tony!), I would like to know if anyone else had a similar experience to me on Easter Day. Having played for an 08h Communion (1662/1928), a Sung Mass (2000/home-tweaked) and a Choral Matins (1662/1928) the Rector preached at each service - and he preached the same sermon! This I personally found slightly objectionable. Aside from the fact that I could have delivered it myself at Matins (without the aid of notes), I took care to ensure that all my voluntaries were different - even at the fourth service (Choral Evensong 1662/1928).

 

Did anyone else have a similar experience?

 

 

================

 

 

Guilty!

 

I played exactly the same voluntaries for the Easter Saturday Mass, and the 9am and 11am Easter Sunday masses.

 

The best one to attend was the 9am Sunday, when both the sermon and the voluntaries had enjoyed a dress-rehearsal on the Saturday, and before boredom set-in for the 11am.

 

We're not lazy of course. It's what the military refer to as "economy of effort."

 

B)

 

MM

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================

Guilty!

 

I played exactly the same voluntaries for the Easter Saturday Mass, and the 9am and 11am Easter Sunday masses.

 

The best one to attend was the 9am Sunday, when both the sermon and the voluntaries had enjoyed a dress-rehearsal on the Saturday, and before boredom set-in for the 11am.

 

We're not lazy of course. It's what the military refer to as "economy of effort."

 

B)

 

MM

 

 

Your candour is refreshing, MM!

 

I have to ask this - do you feel that you could have swapped rôles with your parish priest and delivered the homily at one of its repeated slots?

 

Come to that, could your priest have played the organ for the Easter Mass?

 

Perhaps it is best not to pursue this....

 

B)

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I'm sure God doesn't care too much about the (perceived) musical integrity of such compositions and performances.
Of course, it could be that he cares a lot, but forgives imperfections. Who knows? The trouble I have with the "God doesn't mind" argument is that it is so often used as an excuse to justify an attitude of "anything goes and standards don't matter" (though I'm sure that's not how you intended it). It's a by-product the feel-good factor that is the prime objective of today's churches (or at least the Anglican and Protestant ones). Having been brought up as a hair-shirt, miserable sinner, Prayer Book Anglican, I suppose it's inevitable that I should view this aspect of the modern Reformation with a degree of mistrust. Heaven knows I don't advocate being miserable, but I can't help feeling things have got a bit unbalanced in the opposite direction.

 

I apologise in advance for a view that some of you will find offensive, but the other problem is that man makes God in his own image. If you don't believe me, think about it. Society dictates our moral values and the church establishment falls into line at a discreet distance of, maybe, fifty years or so - and reinterprets the bible to suit. So "God's truth" is ever changing. Of course we are told, "It's not the truth that's changing; it's our understanding of it that's getting better". Well, maybe, but pardon me for being sceptical. All I know is that I am no longer sure what God thinks about anything. But the one thing I am sure of is that He deserves nothing but the best that we can offer. Obviously that "best" will mean different things in different churches depending on the resources and talent available, but I really do wonder how many churches have this deeply embedded in their ethos.

 

Of course, on this forum I know I'm preaching to the converted.

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Indeed, VH.

 

Having said that, I am in complete agreement with your sentiments.

 

Oh - what colour is your hair-shirt, by the way? Mine is brown.

 

Do you have the matching hessian under-garments, too?

 

B)

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I apologise in advance for a view that some of you will find offensive, but the other problem is that man makes God in his own image. .

 

 

======================

 

That is absolutely true VH, and of course, by implication, the ultimate blasphemy is to limit God to our own understanding.

 

With regards to being part of the converted, I wish it to be placed on record that I am perfectly capable of hacking it with the worst of them!

 

B)

 

MM

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================

 

I played exactly the same voluntaries for the Easter Saturday Mass, and the 9am and 11am Easter Sunday masses.

 

The best one to attend was the 9am Sunday, when both the sermon and the voluntaries had enjoyed a dress-rehearsal on the Saturday, and before boredom set-in for the 11am.

 

We're not lazy of course. It's what the military refer to as "economy of effort."

 

 

MM

 

As an interesting excersise, try playing the same voluntary, (make it slightly obscure one), after Sunday morning service each week until someone in the congregation spots what you are doing.

 

FF

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I can't wait for "Simon Rattle raps with the BPO". Or Robbie Williams sings Monteverdi.....

 

Barry

 

 

Well as to Rattle this has been done already. There exists a CD called 'Round Midnight the significance of whose title will be familiar to all those here who also dabble in jazz. (EMI CLassics7243 5 57319 2 0) in which 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker play classic Broadway songs, film themes, etc. Track 7 is a piece called The Flower is a key(A Rap for Mozart) in which the speaker is ... Sir Simon Rattle. I personally did not feel an overwhelming urge to hear it again but .....

 

BAC

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Of course, it could be that he cares a lot, but forgives imperfections. Who knows? The trouble I have with the "God doesn't mind" argument is that it is so often used as an excuse to justify an attitude of "anything goes and standards don't matter" (though I'm sure that's not how you intended it). It's a by-product the feel-good factor that is the prime objective of today's churches (or at least the Anglican and Protestant ones). Having been brought up as a hair-shirt, miserable sinner, Prayer Book Anglican, I suppose it's inevitable that I should view this aspect of the modern Reformation with a degree of mistrust. Heaven knows I don't advocate being miserable, but I can't help feeling things have got a bit unbalanced in the opposite direction.

 

I apologise in advance for a view that some of you will find offensive, but the other problem is that man makes God in his own image. If you don't believe me, think about it. Society dictates our moral values and the church establishment falls into line at a discreet distance of, maybe, fifty years or so - and reinterprets the bible to suit. So "God's truth" is ever changing. Of course we are told, "It's not the truth that's changing; it's our understanding of it that's getting better". Well, maybe, but pardon me for being sceptical. All I know is that I am no longer sure what God thinks about anything. But the one thing I am sure of is that He deserves nothing but the best that we can offer. Obviously that "best" will mean different things in different churches depending on the resources and talent available, but I really do wonder how many churches have this deeply embedded in their ethos.

 

Of course, on this forum I know I'm preaching to the converted.

 

 

I think this so exactly encapsulates my own views that I would adopt it without qualification. In particular, the distinction between the style of what is offered and the quality of what is offered. Whatever style be adopted the end product should be the very top of the range of that style, even if we can assured that we will be forgiven that our best falls far short of perfection.

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I think this so exactly encapsulates my own views that I would adopt it without qualification. In particular, the distinction between the style of what is offered and the quality of what is offered. Whatever style be adopted the end product should be the very top of the range of that style, even if we can assured that we will be forgiven that our best falls far short of perfection.

 

 

=-====================

 

I heard a bit of real quality yesterday, from Gloucester Cathedral on the "Choral Evensong" broadcast, when for the first time in my life, I heard the "Te Deum" by Elgar. It was magnificent!

 

I didn't catch the composer of the final voluntary, but it was one of those modern French "rushing-around-for-the-sake-of-it" things, and the initials JG came to mind. Anyone know what it was, so that I may avoid ever listening to it again?

 

Quality is something I tend not to associate with a majority of churches to-day, which may explain why most of them are empty.

 

Other than the magnificent Easter sermon from Canada, on the pod-cast of which we were recently invited to listen , I cannot recall a single sermon from the past TEN YEARS, with two notable exceptions. The first exception came from a young RC youth prison-chaplin (YOI Chaplain), who demonstrated an amazing respect and love for those in his flock. It was quite moving; especially when he said, "They're great kids when you take the trouble to understand them."

 

The second exception was the most bizzare mis-representation of facts, when an RC priest referred to the singer George Michael. Having castigated his life-style, he went on to tell the "facts" surrounding the recent discovery of him "slumped at the wheel of his car" after using cannabis.

 

"Well," I thought, "at least George Michael gets HIS notes right and delivers the quality."

 

I'm not quite sure what "church" represents to-day. I watched and waited when they introduced "modern hymns," (Kendrik etc) and still the churches got emptier.

 

I gaped in disbelief at a charismatic "event" and marvelled at the dancers resembling small cart-horses, who clomped around a make-shift "stage". Then there was the girl in the linen-smock with frizzy red-hair and an out-of-tune guitar, who sobbed her way through some self-indulgent song about "Jesus."

 

They pulled the church down a couple of years later.

 

Meanwhile, they poured all their energy into re-discovering the "spirit," following which, the thinking faithful abandoned-ship.

 

So nowadays, everyone hops, skips and dances back to the security of neo-fundamentalism and the womb of cosy spiritual refuge.

 

In spite of being an organist, I often considered why I stuck with church at all, but deep inside like a rum-rat, I knew there was still something which called for my attention, but I didn't know quite why.

 

Then a few years back, I stumbled across two kids from Kosovo, at 3.15am in the middle of rural Norfolk; one of whom had lost his entire family, and the other one of whom had a nasty knife-wound. Thus began a mini-adventure which took me 400 miles out of my way, as I drove them to London and to the only surviving relatives the injured one had.

 

After 23 hours without sleep and almost 800 miles of driving, you don't sing praise hymns and dance for joy, I can tell you. Instead, you're just grateful for the things that you've never had to endure.

 

I then remembered that the rum-rat had a name, and it was Gladys.

 

I'd met Gladys Aylward when I was 14, and I guess she had quite an impact upon me....... but then.....she didn't TALK about quality, she just WAS quality.

 

Music being the food of love, I play on!

 

MM

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I didn't catch the composer of the final voluntary, but it was one of those modern French "rushing-around-for-the-sake-of-it"  things, and the initials JG came to mind. Anyone know what it was, so that I may avoid ever listening to it again?
Jean Guillou's Toccata - but I suspect you knew that really. It did sound a bit like a recording of my stomach after a good curry. I doubt you'll need to go out of your way not to hear it again: I don't think his music is played much these days, is it? Many years ago I heard Guillou play his Sinfonietta at the RFH. And an impressive piece of music it was too, I thought - and flippin' difficult.

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Guest Barry Oakley
Jean Guillou's Toccata - but I suspect you knew that really. It did sound a bit like a recording of my stomach after a good curry. I doubt you'll need to go out of your way not to hear it again: I don't think his music is played much these days, is it? Many years ago I heard Guillou play his Sinfonietta at the RFH. And an impressive piece of music it was too, I thought - and flippin' difficult.

 

Tommy Trotter played Prokoviev's "Tocatta for Piano," arranged by Guillou at last Saturday's opening recital at Bridlington Priory.

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Jean Guillou's Toccata - but I suspect you knew that really. It did sound a bit like a recording of my stomach after a good curry. I doubt you'll need to go out of your way not to hear it again: I don't think his music is played much these days, is it? Many years ago I heard Guillou play his Sinfonietta at the RFH. And an impressive piece of music it was too, I thought - and flippin' difficult.

 

 

=====================

 

 

Actually, I DIDN'T know who the final voluntary was by, but the "style" reminded me of an improvisation I have on LP by the great man himself; hence the guess.

 

MM

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It reminded me of bits of the Sinfonietta, so at least there seems to be some stylistic consistency! It also struck me as quite reminiscent of Hakim - though I suppose the influence, if any, must have been the other way round.

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I would like to know why, almost every time we have a visiting preacher at our church, the person concerned speaks for almost exactly twenty-two minutes.

 

Almost without exception, they seem to be too verbose, to repeat themselves (often thus weakening an otherwise effective point) and there appears to be a lack of good construction.

 

As a result, this week, at Mass, I spent the semon in the Verger's vestry, reading the Administrator's Manual - and half listening on a monitor speaker.

 

The result was that I found that I could remeber little of the sermon (for the points listed above, not because I was also reading at the time!) - and Matins commenced about twelve minutes late - again.

 

I have decided that I want an extra draw-stop, labelled 'Pulpit Trap-door'; and before Rev. Newnham responds, no, the clergy do not need the equivalent for me, since I do not keep people waiting. In any case, the clergy never listen to my voluntaries, they are too busy encouraging people to talk loudly at the west end of the building....

 

B)

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I have decided that I want an extra draw-stop, labelled 'Pulpit Trap-door'
Close. But I'd prefer a cinema-organ type lift which lowers the preacher slowly while artificial flames spout from the pulpit.

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Close. But I'd prefer a cinema-organ type lift which lowers the preacher slowly while artificial flames spout from the pulpit.

 

 

================

 

What's wrong with real ones?

 

B)

 

MM

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