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Best Ways To Fuse A Clavinova?

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
The musical standard in nthe church had hit the depths - no wonder nobody enjoyed standard repertoire! Rather stupidly I think, God's representative backed down when push came to shove at a big meeting we had. Apparently "pistol put to the head" by the worship group that they'd all walk out. Of course that meant bums on pews would be less. But I had hoped they'd all walk.

 

The thing is, this group would love to see the back of me, it's just what they want. Because I know they want me to resign, (and have tried all manners of non-co-operation and slagging off of our newly formed choir(, it makes me all the more determined to stay there.

 

I'm guessing because we've never met, but I reckon there are likely to be two main things about you that really irritate that Music Group.

1. You're young and keen

2. You know more about music than they do.

Swallow your pride, though, because knowing this does not solve the problem at all!

 

People always seem to care far more about the things they do that they're not getting paid for - funny isn't it. Your volunteers who do this and that at church (and so bitterly defend their little territories) would put up with anything and everyone at work and say nothing (or not much for fear of losing their job) but at churches nothing seems to hold them back at the critical moment and things can get very nasty indeed. I am so sorry to hear you're going through this. It's the same with Golf Club committees: feuds, character assassinations, daggers drawn, etc. etc.

 

Unfortunately I've quite regularly seen this sort of thing go on in friends' churches and very occasionally in mine over the years. In a happy (or at least settled) parish, someone in authority would step in very gently but firmly and sort this out. A typical solution would be to divide the duties - say Music Group one service, Choir the other at specific times of the month. Logically this is the best option if peaceful co-existence isn't 'on'.

 

I suppose you have to ask

1. Will my choir succeed if it isn't getting wholehearted clergy support? Even if your choir is doing really well at this early stage, firm support from outside will be essential sooner or later.

2. Will I ever be able to worship properly in that church if the atmosphere is so far from what it ought to be in a Christian establishment?

 

It could, frankly, go either way by the sound of it.

 

I still think that your clergy person has to decide what goes on - it is their church. They should

1. set the tone, and

2. watch properly over relationships between those 'on the team'.

Ultimately, if he/she/it is put completely in the picture and then opts out of their responsibilities, so would I.

 

 

 

 

P.S. Sorry about the 1. and 2. stuff. Pedantic to the last, me.

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From my limited experience of music groups/happy clappy music, I’ve noticed that the people who push it forward are middle-aged women of limited musical ability. This is just an observation and not meant to be sexist or ageist in any way. :o

 

Unless you’ve got a really strong tie to that particular church, then I’d be inclined to leave them to it and find another church who appreciate what you offer. ;)

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Several years ago, I had an experience that, whilst not identical, bore some similarities with you own.

 

I am afraid that, for your own peace of mind, there is probably only one solution - try another church. This is not necessarily defeatist - simply a way of preserving your sanity and self-respect.

 

I am sorry if this sounds cynical, but it has been my experience that, if people do not wish to receive help or advice, however well-intended, then there is really nothing that you can do, particularly if your parish priest is unwilling to take a stand.

 

If you really feel that you cannot leave, then try the following:

 

Remove the plug from the wall outlet, remove a back (or base) access panel, get a can of cheap hairspray and empty the contents inside the Clavinova. Replace the panel and socket and watch carefully the next time that it is connected to the National Grid.

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You might do well to sprinkle some iron filings into the volume control and work 'em in good and well. If all goes according to plan there'll be a horrible crackling sound from the speakers and someone will rush to unplug it and declare it unfit for use.

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Thing is, assuming it really is a Clavinova (as in, made by Yamaha), a horrible sound from the speakers is pretty much par for the course.

 

I'm no enemy of digital keyboards - my first full-time job was as staff writer on the late lamented Keyboard Review magazine - but the best that can be said about Yamaha digitals is that they sound like Yamaha acoustics. Give me a Roland or a Korg any day.

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Thing is, assuming it really is a Clavinova (as in, made by Yamaha), a horrible sound from the speakers is pretty much par for the course.

 

I'm no enemy of digital keyboards - my first full-time job was as staff writer on the late lamented Keyboard Review magazine - but the best that can be said about Yamaha digitals is that they sound like Yamaha acoustics. Give me a Roland or a Korg any day.

 

I like Yamaha acoustics. A really good U3 upright from the late 70's/early 80's takes some beating.

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You might do well to sprinkle some iron filings into the volume control and work 'em in good and well.  If all goes according to plan there'll be a horrible crackling sound from the speakers and someone will rush to unplug it and declare it unfit for use.

 

Nice thought but the potentiometers used for volume control are nearly always sealed units these days. As mentioned by other people on this board, I don’t think destroying the clavinova will cure your problem. The music group will not go away overnight, is there anyway you can work with them rather than against? ;)

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Guest delvin146
Nice thought but the potentiometers used for volume control are nearly always sealed units these days.  As mentioned by other people on this board, I don’t think destroying the clavinova will cure your problem.  The music group will not go away overnight, is there anyway you can work with them rather than against?  ;)

 

Good point. The worship group are going to be invited to the "end of term" choir social at the end of July. - I'm quite sure they won't come. The choir would like them to help out and be part of one big group because they enthusiastic but very low ability, but the worship group who make a better overall sound prefer to continue to sing secular songs with pre-recorded tape backings, and the occasional bit of GK and the like. To their credit they did try Panis Angelicus - Frank and Rutter's "For the beauty". (However much I dislike the latter it was more in the right direction but all a bit traditional for them), but I went out of my way to congratulate them nonethless, even if I was all but sneered at.

 

The think is everyone is quite happy working with them, including myself and the choir. We go out of our way to accommodate but it doesn't work both ways. (I think they thought they'd reign supreme when the previous organist effectively got too ill to play anymore, of course they were in for a nasty shock).

 

I'm more than happy to work with them, but I have also to be firm in leadership as to the choices of music. I'm not going to do secular songs and a diet of GK because I think most of it is not helpful to a church operating a half-decent liturgy and liturgical year. The worship group of course cannot understand this. I don't really think they have the first clue who God is or what church music is all about. O yes, and they wear the most dreadful Asda red-tartan "George" waistcoats as their uniform. It's unbearably tacky!

 

I am actually director of music of the parish, but you wouldn't think so! Unfortunately God's rep seems to want minimal confrontation, which I can understand. In so doing of course, nothing gets sorted and they continue as a seperate entity between themselves and God's rep with my say having very little impact about what goes on musically in the church. The best thing that could have happened would have been for them to walk when they threatened it. Then we would have had less problem rebuilding a decent choir also without the threat of the worship group poaching any new choir recuits before they even come my way.

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I still think that it is worth considering the 'Situations Vacant' page in the Church Times - or have a look on-line.

 

Failing that, marry a lap-dancer and retire to the depths of the countryside and learn the art of fly-fishing....

 

B)

 

Or, if you feel that you simply must stay...

 

... become really proficient with a crossbow.

 

B)

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Failing that, marry a lap-dancer and retire to the depths of the countryside and learn the art of fly-fishing....

 

 

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

 

Speaking from experience, this is just as bad as trying to work with a "praise band".

 

I shacked up with an ex-pro dancer and the neighbours are as confused as any Anglican congregation could ever be.

 

One minute "Alleinen Gott" and the next "Danceparty megamix 2004".

 

The moral of this sad tale is never to go fly-fishing in Manchester!

 

B)

 

MM

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

 

I shacked up with an ex-pro dancer and the neighbours are as confused as any Anglican congregation could ever be.

 

MM

 

 

Oh my God - does she do pole-dancing and does she still accept professional engagements?

 

B)

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Oh my God - does she do pole-dancing and does she still accept professional engagements?

 

B)

 

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

 

Ahem!

 

Desperately searching for the tactful resonse, I would point out that the person concerned was a PRO dancer, not a Pole Dancer!

 

Furthermore, there is a 51% chance that "pcnd" made the wrong assumption, which is understandable, because 90% of the remaining 49% probably can't tell Stork from butter.

 

The person concerned has a name which begins with M and ends with K, and that is the gospel truth.

 

I'm sure that "pcnd" and the entire board can work it out, which saves me the embarrassment of describing how a soberly dressed organist could possibly be attracted to someone 8ft high, on stilts, dressed as a Pink Flamingo and dancing a Samba routine in a Latin American "Brazilia" show-stopper.

 

For most of my life, things have not been quite this complicated, but then again, neither has it ever been straightforward.

 

B)

 

MM

 

PS: I recall that my opening chat-up line was, "I think you must have parasites; you're losing feathers!"

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

 

Ahem! 

 

Desperately searching for the tactful resonse, I would point out that the person concerned was a PRO dancer, not a Pole Dancer!

 

Furthermore, there is a 51% chance that "pcnd" made the wrong assumption, which is understandable, because 90% of the remaining 49% probably can't tell Stork from butter.

 

The person concerned has a name which begins with M and ends with K, and that is the gospel truth.

 

I'm sure that "pcnd" and the entire board can work it out, which saves me the embarrassment of describing how a soberly dressed organist could possibly be attracted to someone 8ft high, on stilts, dressed as a Pink Flamingo and dancing a Samba routine in a Latin American "Brazilia" show-stopper.

 

For most of my life, things have not been quite this complicated, but then again, neither has it ever been straightforward.

 

B)

 

MM

 

PS: I recall that my opening chat-up line was, "I think you must have parasites; you're losing feathers!"

 

 

Oh.

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Guest Lee Blick

I have never had a problem working with both choirs and music groups.

 

The first thing I do is to be totally neutral and not air my own personal prejudices or assumptions.

 

The next thing is not to allow 'a we are better than you' attitude within either groups. Sometimes you have to be quite firm and vocal about this is It is important to encourage a 'we are glorifying the Lord through our music at whatever level or ablility we have achieved' atmosphere.

 

If there are times where both groups have to be present at a service, do something together but be willing to adapt and compromise so all feel involved.

 

I used to love re-arranging Graham Kendrick songs to include choral parts, which sounded great as a backing to the music group.

 

We once did the Missa Luba which was fantastic as it allowed the music group to get all their drums out and the choir to sing their parts without music.

 

Folky, Celtic arrangements of hymns and worships worked too as it allowed some 'Clannad' type harmonies to support music group type instrumentation.

 

Teaching the music group to read music and sing in parts allowed them to take part in more traditional music and in the end there were people in both the choir and the music group which really gave more sense of cohesion and cooperation.

 

There is a plethora of decent resources one can use if a little imagination and willingness to 'think outside the box'. It can be done without compromising the liturgy as long as you consult the powers that be and confident in presenting your proposals.

 

Most of all make it fun and enjoyable. People will accept new things if you approach it in the right way.

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Guest delvin146
I have never had a problem working with both choirs and music groups.

 

The first thing I do is to be totally neutral and not air my own personal prejudices or assumptions.

 

The next thing is not to allow 'a we are better than you' attitude within either groups.  Sometimes you have to be quite firm and vocal about this is   It is important to encourage a 'we are glorifying the Lord through our music at whatever level or ablility we have achieved' atmosphere.

 

If there are times where both groups have to be present at a service, do something together but be willing to adapt and compromise so all feel involved.

 

I used to love re-arranging Graham Kendrick songs to include choral parts, which sounded great as a backing to the music group.

 

We once did the Missa Luba which was fantastic as it allowed the music group to get all their drums out and the choir to sing their parts without music.

 

Folky, Celtic arrangements of hymns and worships worked too as it allowed some 'Clannad' type harmonies to support music group type instrumentation.

 

Teaching the music group to read music and sing in parts allowed them to take part in more traditional music and in the end there were people in both the choir and the music group which really gave more sense of cohesion and cooperation.

 

There is a plethora of decent resources one can use if a little imagination and willingness to 'think outside the box'.  It can be done without compromising the liturgy as long as you consult the powers that be and confident in presenting your proposals.

 

Most of all make it fun and enjoyable.  People will accept new things if you approach it in the right way.

 

I'm sorry Lee, but I simply cannot agree, and I am unable to bring myself to do evangelical clap-trap. I've been there before, I know all about Spring Harvest etc, and the very thought of anything remotely GK or evangelical makes me want to puke quite frankly. Given that fact that so many of the lyrics seem to be theologically unsound anyway. If I wanted to go to an evangelical church I would have done, and I know what damage SOME of these people can do to individuals. Seeing as God's rep and I are nothing of the kind neither of us want to go down this road. We are one holy Catholic and Apostolic church and we are unanamous in that!! :( We don't want them to accept new things, we want them to accept the old things and stick steadfastly to the faith!

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Guest Lee Blick
I'm sorry Lee, but I simply cannot agree, and I am unable to bring myself to do evangelical clap-trap.

 

Who said anything about evangelical clap-trap? There are plenty of other musical resources out there reflecting a range of different cultures and worshipping traditions from all the world, for example from Iona and Taize, but there are plenty of other sources. Much of it accessible through the internet nowadays too. There is some good music composed and arranged by the likes of Bob Chilcott and Peter Hunt of the 'Voiceworks Series' using a mixture of traditional and modern idioms.

 

The secret here is what you do with the resources. Sensitive and imaginative arrangements can lift even the most ordinary chorus or song.

 

It does require a lot of work. Knowing your musical resources and to be able to craft the arrangements to suit the musicians/singers is an art in itself. And of course it depends on the willingness of the clergy and congregations to be open to these things.

 

To divide this debate into a catholic and evangelical argument, is a red herring in my view.

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We don't want them to accept new things, we want them to accept the old things and stick steadfastly to the faith!

 

 

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

 

I note that many churches have now been re-developed as housing projects.

 

Very nice they are too!

 

MM

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I'm sorry Lee, but I simply cannot agree, and I am unable to bring myself to do evangelical clap-trap. I've been there before, I know all about Spring Harvest etc, and the very thought of anything remotely GK or evangelical makes me want to puke quite frankly. Given that fact that so many of the lyrics seem to be theologically unsound anyway. If I wanted to go to an evangelical church I would have done, and I know what damage SOME of these people can do to individuals. Seeing as God's rep and I are nothing of the kind neither of us want to go down this road. We are one holy Catholic and Apostolic church and we are unanamous in that!!  :( We don't want them to accept new things, we want them to accept the old things and stick steadfastly to the faith!

 

Hi

 

You may not personally like Kendrick et al style of music - that's fine - but I challenge you to quote say half a dozen examples of Kendrick songs with theologically unsound lyrics.

 

And just because something is "evangelical" doesn't mean it's claptrap. And why not accept new things - God is a God of creativity - and if the church hadn't changed, we would be worshipping in Aramaic (the language of the first apostles) and using music in Ancient Greek/Roman style.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

You may not personally like Kendrick et al style of music - that's fine - but I challenge you to quote say half a dozen examples of Kendrick songs with theologically unsound lyrics.

 

And just because something is "evangelical" doesn't mean it's claptrap.  And why not accept new things - God is a God of creativity - and if the church hadn't changed, we would be worshipping in Aramaic (the language of the first apostles) and using music in Ancient Greek/Roman style.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

I agree with what you’re saying, but an awful lot of modern (style of) music is weak to say the least. Good writing can enhance words; it can convey the meaning of the words through understanding and passion. There are some modern hymns that achieve this, and these will be around for a long time. At the other end of the spectrum, a lot of modern hymns are just plain rubbish. :(

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I agree with what you’re saying, but an awful lot of modern (style of) music is weak to say the least.  Good writing can enhance words; it can convey the meaning of the words through understanding and passion.  There are some modern hymns that achieve this, and these will be around for a long time.  At the other end of the spectrum, a lot of modern hymns are just plain rubbish.  :(

 

Hi

 

I agree with you (although we may not agree on what is good and bad music!) - but if you look back into old hymn books, it's always been this way - the best survives, and the not so good drops out of favour. This is already happening with some contemporary worship songs - not a lot of the Fisherfolk's music has survived in common use, nor some of the early material in books like "Scripture in Song" (both 1970's-80's) -and going further back, I cringe at some of the things in Youth Praise these days - but all these books served a valid purpose in their day of making it possible for people to worship in ways that were culturally relevant.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I think the thing that annoys so much is that those who want to “jazz up” church music turn just once or twice a month. You never see them at Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Ascension Day (to name but a few), yet we are left doing their style of music, which often makes “lite” of these occasions. Good modern music has its place, but why can’t they leave other services alone? As has been mentioned before, we often bend backwards to accommodate them but that seems to rarely be reciprocated. :(

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