Choral Caffeine: The Church is Not a Battlefield
Date: March 26, 2014
It is probably safe to say that all places of religious worship are supposed to be about fellowship, spiritual enrichment, peace, and love. Thus it is always amazing to hear people complain about one church or another, demonizing them because of some practice or perceived ill that the find objectionable. Such folks even criticize the music.
In his article, “Worship Wars Can and Should Be Avoided” (Indiana ICDA Notations Vol.34, No.1), David K. Lamb examines this curious phenomenon.
Too often, certain people seem to think that everyone else should be moved by the same type or style of music. The result? Worship music wars.
Never mind the fact that many of us have choir members who have shared their time and talents with the church four or five decades. A few well-meaning but misguided folks think they know what everyone will or should like. Their opinion is that whatever is modern/new is far better than the old, outdated stuff with its soaring descants, beautiful choral anthems from oratorios and cantatas, and memorable hymns that have offered inspiration and comfort for centuries.
These “informed” parishioners are sure that guitars, microphones, drum sets, and electronic keyboards are needed to attract new members. These same people appear to have a wealth of information to share concerning those who will join the church if we simply expand the program to include more contemporary music.
Many of us know of churches where long traditions of fine choral music have been dramatically affected by the addition of the guitars and microphones.
Choral directors who hope to preserve the tradition of fine choral singing in houses of worship need to embrace flexibility in an effort to continue creating inspirational experiences both for the singers and for the worship partners in the pews.
(For additional articles on a dazzling array of choral topics, visit ChorTeach.)