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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Church Musicians and Worship Leaders' LiveJournal:

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
3:16 pm
What can you tell me about the "selah" in the Psalms? If a psalm is read responsively, does one say "selah" at the appropriate times? Is there something else that should be done in that place?
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
6:22 pm
x-posted to catholicism and liturgy.

Probably more significant to the Catholics on this board, but still worth discussing, is the recent decree thatyou can't say "Yahweh" at Mass anymore.

I love how the article goes straight to OCP for comment on "You Are Near," since most American Catholics probably think immediately of that song when they hear "Yahweh." At least, I do.
Thursday, July 17th, 2008
9:27 pm
Friday, June 13th, 2008
9:45 pm
Schedule Setup Help
I have decide to put all my energy into music as a performer for the next three months before starting to edit manuscripts for publications.

I have never done this, working as a musician. I'd like to know what would be considered a normal workload for a quarter. I am disabled, so I do have a little bit of SSDI to pay my rent.

Assuming a concert is considered a solo performance that lasts for one hour..Currently I am planning to have seven concerts in two months, or ten concerts in a quarter. I wonder if this is too much, or I am too lazy.
I base this workload on my now retired teacher, who held two concerts a week in Colonial Williamsburg: one solo, the other ensemble. I am trying to put six solo, and four projects with others during a quarter. Being an organist, I also have to substitute for the regular organist of the church if needed.
Sunday, November 25th, 2007
7:01 pm
Anybody has any idea about the occasions when a Apostolic Mass and a BVM Mass is held? Also, when one says Mass I, Mass II, Mass III, or Gloria III, what does that mean?

Same thing applies to Magnificat...what does Magnificat VII means?
Sunday, March 4th, 2007
1:27 pm
graduate school applications
I am applying to a private university in St Louis, and like most master's programs, you are required to take an entrance exam in history and theory to see what, and how much, you have retained.

Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of free time that I did in undergrad, because I have to work, and rehearse. For those of you who have been in this boat, is there any tips or information you can give me that would make my studying a bit more refined?
Any info. at this point is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Friday, February 2nd, 2007
10:49 pm
This community seems to be more traditional, but I figured I would ask anyways.

We are putting together a new evening service at my church. We hesistate to call it "contemporary" because of the problems with that term (you and I both know that considering the past 700 years of music represented in our hymnals, "contemporary" is a very subjective term). Because most of the materials at my church (ELCA Lutheran) are more traditional, I am looking for a lot of alternative sources.

I am so fed up with the contemporary Christian music. You know what I am talking about. Just everything about it drives me crazy. The music has no melody, and is often theologically unsound, focusing on ME ME ME instead of on God. I want this, I am doing this, do this for me God, etc. Also the music is so driven by economics. You can buy a hymnal with 500 songs for $10, or a book of praise music with 50 songs for $30. UGH! I could go on forever about it.

But I am really trying to branch out. I know there is some good newer stuff out there, but there is just so much crap you've got to sift through to find it.

I want music that is not weighed down with laborous chords or melodies. That does not mean an absence of interesting chords or melodies, which apparently most contemporary artists think it means. I find it offensive, actually, that these "artists" think they need to rid their music of anything artistic or musical so that the "common people" will "get it." Have more faith in people, people. I want music that has simple yet effective harmonies and melodies, that is easy to learn but that doesn't get old. Music that has specific themes--I'm having a hard time finding contemporary Christian music that is something OTHER than confession, thanksgiving, or evangelism. I mean those are great and all, but there's gotta be music with other themes out there. I've got 50 for confession and zero for baptism or communion. And finally, music that is not so musically entangled with a certain time period or community that it is impossible to extract it and put it somewhere else. I mean, music that can be played at two contrasting services and that will still be ok for both.

The service will have a more contemplative feel, but we are staying away from that word as well. Right now we're having an easier time defining what it is not than what it is, but we're working on it.

Can you point me in any direction of resources or specific artists I might want to check out? Considering the economy-driven state of music these days, I'm thinking it might be more effective to look at compilations by specific artists instead of anthologies, because anthologies all have the same songs in them.

Those old hymns, they are so rich. They are simple and repetitive, but they just work on such a basic, heartfelt level. When my grandma died those hymns brought us so much comfort and pain. Most of the music today I just can't imagine having the same effect. It is music written to be sold, calculated profits. Those old hymns came out of pain and triumph and joy and tears.

I've got to find music that has the same heart and soul while also being attentive to the musical values of today. Do you know what I am talking about?
Tuesday, December 26th, 2006
7:52 pm
Christmas recordings to which everyone should be subjected.
Many of you have probably heard these before, but those who haven't need to be witness to them.

Handel's Messiah: Organists, don't touch that dial!

O Holy Night: There are no words to describe this. You constantly find yourself thinking, "Wow, this couldn't get any worse..." And then it surprises you again.

Xposted to fuzzycoatimundi, churchmusician, organists.
Tuesday, December 19th, 2006
12:09 pm
Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
9:46 pm
I'm looking for books that deal with writing for choirs (or writing for voices in general) in the twentieth and/or twenty-first century. Any recommendations?

Also, does anybody know of any guides for writing for chorus / mixed voices that exist? (I ask because my PhD involves probably writing one. More on that later.)
Monday, October 16th, 2006
11:59 am
Organ tuning
How often does an organ need to be tuned?

My church just got a postcard saying our organ is due for a tune-up. The last time it was tuned is March of 2005. We don't use the organ very often: I am a pianist so I just fake it on the organ for the older hymns and service music. I don't know anything about the inner workings of the organ, like what it is exactly that they are tuning, or how they go about it doing it. All I know is that it is expensive, and we don't have much of a budget right now. How necessary is it for an organ to be tuned regularly?
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
5:13 pm
I apologize in advance for all the ridiculous x-posting. I just want to get as much word out as possible.

I am happy to announce that the Catholic rock band I'm in, Priestie Boyz at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, (in St. Louis, MO), at which I was formerly a student, has released our CD, Lost in Ecstasy, which is available for purchase on our website, and in select locations in St. Louis (basically, if you're in town, get in touch and I'll hand deliver it to you). You can listen to song previews on the Priestie Boyz' website, and you can also view our press release and artwork (including banners you could use to advertise our album) in the 'Press/Media Kit' area of our website.

I hope that you could help us spread the word about this CD on your blogs/livejournals/myspaces/etc. and among your friends. The Priestie Boyz don't have any advertising budget, so I hope you can help spread the word! We hope that the songs on this CD will bring people closer to Christ and also help people in their vocational discernment.

If you have any questions about the band or the CD (or even about discernment), feel free to reply and ask!

Founded in 2004, the Priestie Boyz are a group of Roman Catholic seminarians studying for the priesthood, and former seminarians like myself, at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. They strive to return their talents to the One who gave them. They believe their music is a prayer, and hope it is a prayer for those who hear it.
Monday, September 4th, 2006
2:47 pm
i have to write two new hymn texts for existing hymn tunes for my hymnology class. my first draft texts i've written are as follows with the corresponding hymn tune numbers from the Baptist Hymnal

Eternal God Creator: Gott Vater Sei Gepriesen BH #258,

(text addressing contemporary concerns)

eternal God creator
you called us through your Son
and hearing your commission
we answer your call as one

diverse through eternity
we, your church, doth worship thee
grant us mercy, grant us peace
unity and love for all

ordained of every nation
we're called from every land
all genders, tribes, and peoples
serving thee hand in hand

as fathers guide their families
you put us to the test
as mothers hold their children
you give us peace and rest

eternal God creator
yet still we hear your call
and through your holy spirit
we strive, forsaking all

Praise the Risen Christ on High, ASCENSION - BH 165 (text quoting or alluding to Scripture)

Praise the Risen Christ on High, Al-le-lu-ia!
Looking on us from the sky, Al-le-lu-ia
Seated at God's sure right hand, Al-le-lu-ia
The first fruit of all earth's lands, Al-le-lu-ia

Jerusalem is His throne, Al-le-lu-ia
Free and pure she does atone, Al-le-lu-ia
Mother of all wayward sons, Al-le-lu-ia
Drawing, healing us as one, Al-le-lu-ia

Bruised reed he shall forth break, Al-le-lu-ia
Smoking pain he shall not wait, Al-le-lu-ia
Enduring our griefs and pains, Al-le-lu-ia
Judgement to vict'ry in his name, Al-le-lu-ia

Vict'ry is ours through your name, Al-le-lu-ia
Holy holy is Christ's reign, Al-le-lu-ia
We rejoice your drawing nigh, Al-le-lu-ia
Praise the Risen Christ on High, Al-le-lu-ia
Sunday, August 20th, 2006
4:56 pm
I've been asked to sing at a wedding. It'll be in a wedding chapel, not a church. I led the singing at my sister's wedding, but the organist guided me and helped my sister select the hymns. It was all very structured because it was a Catholic mass that needed several things to happen, and the organist was very experienced.

At this wedding, my neighbor wants me to sing Here Comes The Bride. Is that only used in the movies? I'm not sure if that song even has verses and a chorus. I know it's not in any hymnbook that I've ever seen. Is it a real song, or is it best left to be chords played by an organist?

Edit to add: The lady I think would like me to sing, what other songs could I suggest to her? What came to mind for me was From This Moment by Shania Twain, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This wedding will be in a wedding chapel instead of a church.
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006
6:03 pm
I would like to apologize for the journal entry that was made here earlier today. It has been deleted and marked as spam.

Also, membership to this community is now moderated and all posts are moderated. It's a shame that you have to do that when you aren't out bothering anyone else. But I demand that respect for one another be maintained here and I especially demand that respect be shown toward our Lord and Savior.
Friday, July 28th, 2006
2:10 pm
Hello all!

I'm joining and posting because I'm in a bit of a sticky situation. Let me start back a couple of years ago when my then-girlfriend-now-wife's father resumed his post as Choir Director at their old church. I was kind of a shower-singer who'd done some musicals in high school, and they asked me to join the choir (as they were very short on male voices). I had some reservations, mainly because my own experiences with organized religion were pretty overwhelmingly negative. However, the chance for quality family time, and the musical challenge (I couldn't read music) were intriguing to me, and eventually I started singing regularly with the choir.

Now, this church is small-ish, attendance between 100 and 200, and demographically the older folks far outweigh the younger folks. A few contemporary-music zealots from other churches led a drive to create an early-morning praise service. This apparently had been tried several times in the past, and failed. And though this iteration was honestly quite bad at first, it became apparent that the praise service wasn't going away because just enough of the right people were convinced that it was somehow going to bring in the young kids in droves. At first, the church was extremely divided about the service, but lately there's been an uneasy truce between the contemporary and tradtitional folks. Still, however, attendance has dwindled noticably even in just the two years I've been attending.

Last year, my father-in-law, who was doubling as the bass player in the praise band, decided he wanted to take a break, and I was tapped to take over on bass. I hadn't so much as picked up my bass in several years (since my old band broke up), but it was another cool challenge, and I reacquainting myself with playing bass was awesome. When my father-in-law came back to the band, they had me do auxiliary percussion and sing. Even though I didn't really like most of the music, I remembered some of the songs from my youth (my stepmom was the worship leader at my old church), and just plain playing in a band was so much fun. I agreed to become a full memeber of the band--playing bass, auxilliary percussion, filling in on drum set sometimes, and singing (I'd never played and sung before, COOL BUT HARD). I got a lot of compliments on my playing and singing from many members of the congregation, and honestly it was pretty darn fun . . . and somehow this atheist/agnostic was signed up for like eight hours a week in church, LOL. Earlier this year, the praise team leader took a week off and had me lead the group in his absence. Picking the songs, running rehearsal, leading the service, the whole bit. I was pretty nervous, but it came off well and I found myself thinking of ways to improve the service . . .

Well, last week, the praise leader resigned (as he'd been threatening to do fo a while). I am applying for the position and I'm fairly confident I'll get it. Now you see my dilemma: I'm not actually a Christian. I was well indoctrinated by my stepmom and dad, and I'm well acquianted with modern Christian church life and worship. Basically, I can fake it pretty well. I'm excited for the opportunity to lead a band and improve myself musically. I'm excited to help act as a peacemaker and ambassador between the two services, and help integrate traditional elements into the contemporary service and vice-versa. I have come to love this church family, and I don't want to see it die! However, I'm pretty nervous that someone's going to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

So what do you all think? Should I apply? Even if I'm committed and work hard and put on a cool service and make the congregation happy and give people positive worship experiences, is it an unforgivable thing to have a non-Christian lead a Christian praise service? Keep in mind that right now, no one outside my family and the pastor know that I am not actually a Christian. In fact, the pastor and I have had lunch a few times to discuss my concerns about the direction of the church and my involvement in it. Do I need to be upfront about this to the congregation? To date, I haven't actually joined the church, because as part of that you have to state in front of the church that you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior, and frankly I'm not willing to stand up in front of a church and swear a lie.

As you can tell I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this. ANY help or advice is appreciated.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006
9:47 am
Lieder Review
The time has come for me to add a set of Schubert's lieder to my seemingly ever-expanding music library. Because I like to have finished sets of music, I'll eventually end up collecting a complete set of the songs, representing a substantial investment.

So I'm looking for advice from the musicians out there: I'm torn between buying up the Edition Peters set - which as near as I can tell is the tried-and-true edition that many musicians have been using for ages - and the new Bärenreiter set. Admittedly, the Bärenreiter edition has only produced one volume yet, with the others forthcoming as time progresses. As far as I can tell, the Bärenreiter is a much, much more nicely laid-out edition. Very easy to read; all of the engraving is crisp and clear; text and notes pop right off the page.

So, recommendations from anyone out there? Which edition will serve me best over the coming decades?

(cross-posted like whoa; sorry if you're reading this for the third time.)
Tuesday, June 13th, 2006
5:56 pm
Interesting article
Though I'd share this article I read in the east carolina AGO chapter newsletter:

Toward a More Profound Alleluia!

Thoughts About Music and Liturgy at St. Paul's

Janette Fishell, Director of Music/Organist
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Greenville, NC

Over the summer I read a book so profound and moving that it struck to the very heart of my being as a church musician and Christian. It put into words concepts and beliefs that I firmly held, yet lacked insight or
perspective to articulate in a clear fashion. Music and Ministry: A Biblical Counterpoint (second edition, Hendrickson Publishers) by Calvin M. Johansson, explores the role that music plays in our communal worship
of God. Over the coming months I wish to share some of its most important observations in an effort to heighten our awareness of what music in worship is all about and deepen our understanding of the Biblical
foundations that shape music and liturgy at St. Paul's.

On what do we base our philosophy of Music in Worship: Aestheticism, Pragmatism, or Biblical Truth?

If music in the divine service of God reflects the philosophy of the music directors and clergy who plan it, what are prevalent philosophies that shape music in the Church today?

Aestheticism: Hopefully, none of us would deny that a concern for the beauty and compositional quality of music used in worship is an important issue. We have been taught to give God our best, whatever that best may
be, and shoddy music should be as abhorrent to us as plastic flowers on the altar or bad theology from the pulpit. However, when one makes the aesthetic quality of music the primary driving force that determines what
is appropriate we are in danger of worshipping not God, but Art.

Pragmatism: This philosophy believes that the "ends justify the means" and is a dominant force in today's society. In this philosophy, music is a tool or contrivance that is used to achieve an end and all other factors are subjugated to justifying this end. The minister of music with this philosophy will do "anything to get the message across." While the goal may be noble, this approach has several flaws. It often presents a dichotomy or "dissonance" between what is being proclaimed and how it is being proclaimed. Further, it obviates objective artistic standards; they are no longer a valid concern since anything is acceptable in order to reach one's goal.

If these are rejected, then to what should we turn?

Biblical Truth: When God's word is the compass that guides our philosophy then the value we place upon Art will not replace God as the centerpiece of praise but will take its rightful place as the window through which we glimpse God. When we look to God's revelation in scripture, our focus will not be upon earthly success with its financial "bottom lines" or membership "quotas"; there will be no conflict between the spiritual message and its musical vehicle.

We understand God amid many paradoxes: Jesus was fully human yet fully divine; the weak shall inherit the earth; only in giving do we receive. These paradoxes form a theological counterpoint ~ a dynamic relationship
in which there is creative tension. In the following months I will explore various Biblical models for creative music ministry, each of which is like a shard of glass in a stained glass window. Separately they shine with one color, but together they reveal the fuller truth that should be the foundation for music ministry.

copyright Janette Fishell
Saturday, June 10th, 2006
11:23 am
Pray without ceasing...
Please please please lift sweet Jacob and his family in your prayers today. Jacob has a rare cancer of the adrenal gland, called adrenalcortical carcinoma. He's 6 years old, and was diagnosed when he was just 3. He's been on a vent for quite some time now, and is in desperate need of a miracle. The strength and faith of his family are amazing. This is a quote from his mom's journal entry this morning:
"Jacob is dangerously teetering on the edge of that darn cliff and I’m not sure any of us can reach him to pull him back - no matter how long our chain of support is! However I realized today something very important. IF Jacob falls - he will be caught in the loving arms of Jesus and he will without a doubt be okay. In fact he will be better than okay - he will be absolutely PERFECT. He will no longer be sick with tubes sticking out all over and he will feel nothing but extreme JOY . . . Things we can not offer him on this earth."

Jacob's website is: http://www.caringbridge.org/fl/jacob I know his family is SO appreciative of the prayers and support!

Two other boys in desperate need of prayers today are: Jake and Will

(Cross posted everywhere!)

Current Mood: worried
Monday, May 29th, 2006
9:05 pm
Congregational singing
I am music director and accompanist at a Lutheran church. We have two services; the first is traditional in song and format, and the second is blended in song and format (more contemporary in song, traditional in format but not from the LBW).

Our second service is going pretty well. However, the traditional service is really struggling. Lately I have been getting frustrated because the congregation just refuses to sing. Even on hymns they know and like, they barely move their mouths. It is hard because we are really low on singers right now--one of my summer projects is to get more people up there in front to help lead. We don't have a choir or anything, just volunteers who show up.

But just having more people in front isn't going to make the whole congregation sing. My pastor just gave me an article that said that Americans are used to having people make music FOR us. So what are some concrete ways for me to inspire the congregation to sing for themselves and as a church?

Some ideas I have so far are having little testimonial talks once in a while in front of the church about worship and spiritual growth, or writing articles in the monthly newsletters. I would love to hear some more ideas!!

Current Mood: relaxed
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