A few Sundays ago, I had a “first” during my career as a church pianist. We had been rehearsing “When Love Came Down” for a few weeks and were ready to perform it this particular Sunday morning during the worship service. I came at 9:30 to rehearse with the choir one last time before the Sunday school hour. At 10:45, someone came and asked me to diagnose what was wrong with our building-wide audio system and get it fixed for the service. I installed it, so people come to me when something’s not working right. Normally, it just takes a few minutes to get it working again, but this time was a little different. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: church, collections, easter, Faye López, hymns, larry shackley, lloyd larson, lorenz, mark hayes, mary mcdonald, molly ijames, music, new, piano, reviews, solo performance
Easter is coming, and that means lots of music is being practiced for churches around the world. Different denominations celebrate and commemorate our Lords’ most sacrificial act differently, but most of them will use lots of music. Next to Christmas, Easter is probably the most popular time of year for big music programs in churches. Whether you’re preparing for a big choir and drama program or just planning to play for communion or offertory, there’s some new music from the Lorenz catalog you’ll want to consider. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: fade, fading, music, radio, recording, studio
So I got curious about the “fade” in recorded music a while back. I’ve always despised them, even before I really knew anything about music or the recording industry. Just recently, I decided that it was time to get to the bottom of where it came from and why some recording artists still insist on using them. You know what I mean. You’re listening to a song that gets to the 3:00 or 3:30 mark, and the volume starts to get lower and lower until the track ends or a commercial/announcer starts talking over it. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: doc pomus, music, writing
I had one of those perspective-changing moments last week as I listened to NPR on my way home from work. It was a story on the life and legacy of Doc Pomus (born Jerome Felder) who was first a blues singer, then a prolific writer for pop and rock acts for decades. Several of the songs that he wrote were familiar to me, but the backstory to “Save the Last Dance for Me” really stood out. If you’ve ever heard the song, you may have thought that it was simply a song about a strange relationship. Why is the singer telling his girl to dance with anyone she wants but to save just her last dance for him? Who would tolerate that? Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: biblical, church, gift, offertory, ORBC, tithe, worship
Our church has recently revamped the way we take our tithes and offerings during a service. The traditional Baptist model is something like the following. The pastor comes before the congregation to speak briefly about the time where we collect the money given to God through His church. After he prays for the Lord’s blessing on the money collected, several ushers begin moving down the aisles passing large saucers throughout the crowd for the faithful to place their gifts into. While the plates go through the auditorium, someone (generally a pianist) will play a song. The intent is to offer a sort of musical mood or worshipful atmosphere for the givers to consider while giving their gifts. At Oak Ridge Baptist, we have completely done away with this model and replaced it with something entirely different. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: collections, fathers, lillenas, lorenz, love, molly ijames, music, new, piano, reviews
Lillenas (a division of the Lorenz Publishing Company) has released a new set of solo piano arrangements from composer Molly Ijames. “The Father’s Love” is a diverse collection of old and new hymns, all set in a tender style. Each title selected for the book carries the theme of God’s great love for His children. Having never played any solo compositions from Molly, I was interested to see how her writing would differ from choral accompaniments.
Tags: chris tomlin, church, hymns, Keith Getty, kristyn getty, modern, music, npr, sacred, worship
On July 9, All Things Considered on National Public Radio aired a four-minute segment by Blake Farmer called Modern Hymn Writers Aim To Take Back Sunday. You can listen to the segment here, and I recommend you do so before reading the rest of this post. While it was mostly an unbiased, informational piece, there were some interesting opinions expressed by those interviewed in the story. Keith and Kristyn Getty generally represented the modern hymns movement, while a Nashville producer Ed Cash discussed praise music and the contrasts between the two sub-genres of Christian music.
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Tags: choral, heather sorenson, interview, music
You may know Heather Sorenson’s name for a myriad of reasons. In addition to composing and arranging, she works in her church in Texas as a music associate and travels extensively as a clinician. In this 20 minute interview, Heather discusses how she began accompanying at a very young age, how she balances her different roles in different ministries, her unique calling to the music industry, and the story behind the writing of God of Heaven. Enjoy the interview below. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: church, congregational, hymns, john wesley, music, rules, singing
- Learn these Tunes before you learn any others ….
- Sing them exactly as they are printed here without altering or mending them at all …
- Sing ALL. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can …
- Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength …
- Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony …
- Sing in Time. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it … and take care not to sing too slow…
- Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself or any other creature.
Tags: james koerts, performance, piano
“Master, the Tempest is Raging” is not a very well-known hymn, especially among the younger set with which I identify myself. The hymn is set to a tune that isn’t necessarily the most “singable.” That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad tune. It just means that it’s not structured like a lot of other common hymns sung throughout churches. If you haven’t heard it, you’ll understand when you listen to the recording below. Read the rest of this entry »