Posts tagged ‘church services’
I received a Facebook message recently from a friend asking me about my thoughts on applauding musicians after performing during a church service. As the Soloist for seven years at The Mother Church, (the international headquarters of the Christian Science church in Boston), I had many experiences that involved applause… and many that did not.
I messaged my FB friend back with my thoughts. She then asked me to share my answer to a broader audience. This issue has come up often, so it seemed like a good thing to do. Here goes!
“My question is related to the presentation and thanking of musicians during the services: Many branch churches are considering being more socially warm toward our musicians. (organist and soloist). Since the Church Alive Summit in Northern California*, many people are questioning whether applause is acceptable. I understand that The Mother Church (TMC) does not want to influence branch churches in their decisions, but I’m wondering why at times I have heard applause in the TMC service broadcast, and not at other times.”
* Regional gatherings of Christian Scientists and friends that are held around the world
Well, put on your seatbelt… Here are a lot of thoughts comin’ atcha!
I’m going to begin with the idea of applause in church.
First, it has been my experience that each branch church is working out applause and how to be more inclusive in their services on an individual basis. I think it comes down to how the members of a particular church feel as a group.
Wow! I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since I have posted on my blog. I have sincerely missed writing and posting. Where does the time go? In an effort to catch up fast and move forward, I offer you… a bleet!!
What, you ask, is a bleet??? A bleet is a cross between a short blog post and a tweet. See, with a bleet, you can be short, but you don’t have to keep it to 140 characters, which, of course, is an absolute impossibility with me. (And in case you’re wondering, I just made all that up!)
So, here’s my bleet about the last 3 months:
At The Mother Church: March, April and May took me weekly up to Boston where I continue to sing as Soloist at The Mother Church. I sang some gorgeous, inspired music ranging from the wonderful contemporary songs of Mindy Jostyn, (“I And My Father Are One” and “Prodigal Child”) to a perennial favorite, “On Eagle’s Wings,” to several deeply loved traditional treasures: “Arise, Shine” by James MacDermid (with acoustic grand piano) and the healing words and music of “Reality” by Dorothy Currey Chancellor.
At The Watchfire Music Listening Room: From March through May, I performed at The WFM Listening Room in New York City. As a partner in Watchfire Music, I have been helping to develop this wonderful performance venue with Peter Link and have also co-produced concerts when not performing:
After I posted “Songs of Spring” — a list of Easter and Spring solos, Watchfire Music composer Carolyn Kardinal sent a brand new Easter solo, “Rabboni, Rabboni” to be added to her WFM web page. It’s now available.
If you are still searching for that last minute gem of a piece for your worship service — this may be just the answer!
Drums in Church – Some Concluding Thoughts
My friend Kemi Awosile put me in contact with Steve Okwor, an African drummer who organized the drummers for our Thanksgiving Day service at The Mother Church (TMC). She had sat in and drummed with this group before, and so I asked her how she felt about her experience.
Kemi said, “I am in awe of the communication that occurs when two or more people sit down to drum. The inner and outer rhythms, the call and response back and forth and the pure joy of working together and off of one another all leave me breathless and spell bound. For me, it is miraculous and magical to get to play with these folks.”
Oy! Logistics, Permissions and Switzerland, Oh My!
The week before Thanksgiving, we were able to arrange a one-hour time slot in which everyone could rehearse at The Mother Church. Let me tell you, with all of the drummer/nurses’ on-call schedules, the teaching and performing schedules of the Berklee guys, the scheduling of the church and its musicians, including travel schedules, tech crew and administrative folks, this was no easy feat.
We blazed through that one-hour Friday night rehearsal and got through a lot of things – but we clearly couldn’t cover it all in that amount of time. It went well, but afterward, there was concern about the overall readiness of this endeavor.
Would everyone really know what to do during the service? Would we have enough time to manage the logistics of moving 10 people and the drums into places without causing major traffic jams in a fairly small space – not once, but twice during the service? Would the African drums playing in a reverberant hall be overpowering? Could we solve all of this and more in one final 90-minute rehearsal?
The answers to these questions and more, a number of inquiring minds wanted to know…