PipeChat Digest #676 - Tuesday, January 26, 1999
 
Re: Christian Musicians - Organists
  by "Bud/burgie" <budchris@earthlink.net>
Johannus Prototype
  by "Aida van de Brake" <Celeste@cable.A2000.nl>
Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by <ScottFop@aol.com>
Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by <ROBIN88866@aol.com>
RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net>
RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net>
Re:  I need help
  by <Pepehomer@aol.com>
Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by <ScottFop@aol.com>
Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by <ROBIN88866@aol.com>
RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net>
RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...)
  by "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net>
Re: I need support...
  by "George Husson" <george_husson@hotmail.com>
 


(back) Subject: Re: Christian Musicians - Organists From: Bud/burgie <budchris@earthlink.net> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 09:03:07 -0800       WRansomeJr@aol.com wrote:   > (snip) > > I was talking to one of my choristers who is also an organist with a BM from U > of Michigan. She has developed a muscle/health problem that prevents her from > playing regularly and as she told me about it she started crying and it made > me think about how difficult it must be for her after all her training and the > fact that she so truly LOVES the organ and its music. > > She is a member of the San Jose Chapter, AGO and said that she tried to get on > the sub list but they wanted her to submit a tape and go through some kind of > audition. I mean REALLY - She is a gifted musician, beyond her training, and > is a truly Pastoral person which in my opinion is SO important in church work.   I agree with most of what follows, but I have to say that I agree with the San Jose chapter's policy. I wish Orange County chapter had a similar one! I had a DISASTROUS experience last summer with a sub who came highly recommended from the Guild. Like it or not, "AGO" is SUPPOSED to imply a certain level of skill, and if the chapters DON'T require subs (or applicants for jobs, for that matter) to audition, then the Guild's influence and the respect people have for it quickly diminishes. I ended up giving a college student organ lessons (paid for by the church) so she could substitute for me.   > As we discussed organists and church music in the San Francisco Bay area I > became a little distressed. Perhaps some of you can shed light since I am a > newbie. But I have met several other Episcopal musicians and I have the > impression that most of "US" are considered "snobs" and that we think that the > "right music" and "right liturgy" and "right instrument" are more important > than unconditional love, mutual support, and Pastoral care.   San Francisco is perhaps a somewhat special situation ... at one time, a majority of the vicars choral at Grace Cathedral were graduates with degrees in organ, waiting for a post, ANY post, to fall vacant.   As to snobbery, I am an Anglican organist with forty years experience and a degree from a highly-regarded conservatory, but I'm "not good enough" for the Association of Anglican Musicians, it seems.   When I came to St. Matthew's, I chose it because of (1) right liturgy and (2) the chance to do "right" music; the "right" instrument will follow in due time, God willing. I don't think that excludes unconditional love or pastoral care and concern.   > Our senior warden > told me our choir had the reputation of being a "choir of Nazis" and were very > exclusive.   Hmmm ... I've heard the same thing about my Squirrelly Cantorum ... I wonder if that's such a bad thing. Since they're all volunteers and I DON'T require an audition to get in, perhaps a little peer pressure to keep the standard of singing up isn't such a bad thing. After all, Dr. Willan's choir at St. Mary Magdalen has a "committee on vibrato" ... when a singer develops one, he or she is invited to join the (non-singing) "Friends of the Choir" BY THE OTHER CHOIR MEMBERS. And all this is understood from the time a singer joins that choir.   > (snip) > > If we can't support each other > and our congregations in their diversity how can we expect to be supported?   When I first came to the West Coast years ago, my first position was in an Episcopal church in San Diego with a decent new three-manual pipe organ that had never been dedicated, never had a recital. So, being the friendly Southerner that I am, I sent out letters to the Guild inviting folks to play half-hour recitals before Evensong on Sundays. Small stipend, reasonably good publicity, practically unlimited practice time with no interruptions... I made sure they had whatever they wanted or needed ... reception afterwards. Enough responded that we had a recital series that ran through Lent and Eastertide. Series was well-received, congregation was friendly and appreciative, Rector was THERE (an anomaly after years of no-show RC pastors) and properly rectorial. But the ORGANISTS were another story. Of the dozen or so who played, I heard back from only TWO in the twenty years I was in San Diego, and one I DIDN'T hear from was working behind my back to get the position! He got it, all right, but he only lasted six months. Ask me if I'LL ever go out of my way for a colleague again!   What I discovered later was that there were relatively few full-time choirmasters and organists in San Diego, and even fewer with degrees. What the two organists I DID become friends with told me was that the amateurs were very threatened by a new professional in their little pond. I don't know why ... I HAD a position; I didn't want theirs. And I'm about as threatening as a sleepy old blue-tick hound on the front porch on a hot summer day.   > It will be interesting to see if our colleagues out here are as (you > fill in the blank) as I have been led to believe!!   (snip)   > I have worked two part-time jobs and a > full time secular job for about 10 years from my early college days   Been There, Done That. SOMEDAY churches will read the part of the Gospel about the laborer being worthy of his/her hire. I have to say that those of us who worked full-time elsewhere to subsidize our church positions are part of the reason that salaries don't go up.   > , but I > didn't give up and I really feel like I have the position of my dreams. The > money (31k + benefits for a 3/4 (ha!) job) seems generous, but Silicon Valley > is very expensive (housing at $1400/mo average for a small 2 bdrm. apt) but I > am so happy!   Orange County is expensive too ... I barely make ends meet on my "full-time" salary. If I didn't share digs, I wouldn't. But I have the leisure to practice and compose and hang out on the Internet chatting and looking for music.   Cheers,   Bud      
(back) Subject: Johannus Prototype From: Aida van de Brake <Celeste@cable.A2000.nl> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 18:10:18 +0100   Hi,   Is anyone attending NAMM in LA? I'm very interested to hear what the new Johannus "American Classic" prototypes sound like.   I just missed them two weeks ago when they left Holland for LA. So, if any of you could let me know...   Thanks in advance,   Aida.   P.S. Samples are from a two Aeolian-Skinners, one from the 30s and one from the 50s, freshly sampled. I've never been a Johannus fan, but who knows ...  
(back) Subject: Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: ScottFop@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 12:17:10 EST   The responses following the quote below are MY OWN PERSONAL opinions in regards to the reponse I got from my posting.       In a message dated 1/26/99 11:27:07 AM Eastern Standard Time, clmoney@cybernex.net writes:   << With regard to the subject of "contemporary worship"; will somebody please define for me what is meant by "contemporary worship or music"!!!! In my mind- contemporary worship includes Glory and Praise (which seems to be, thank God- finally burning out and running its course), contemporary Christian music (like on the radio) and the like. Now at my church we DO havd a Life Teen Band which consists of electric guitars, drums, keyboards and vocalists. They perform at the Sunday evening Mass which has mostly teen and college aged and young adults. From what i have seen they go to at LEAST one mass on the weekend as many of them also attend one of the main morning Liturgues with their families and go Sunday night to be with their age group in a special setting designed for them. While they are under my area of responsibility- I basically stay out of what they do unless they need assistance with something. I told the committees in my interview that that kind of music (as well as the folk choir which plays Saturday evenings at 6:30) is not my cup of tea and that I did not have any intention of participating in or with it, but that I would support it to the hilt if it ministered to a faction of people and was done well.       Based on the criteria of the discussion perhaps we should throw out the music of John Rutter or, for that matter, anything written past a certain date (whatever that date might be)   I didn't say that. in fact- we do several of Rutter's pieces- the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve was probably 50% Rutter- MUCH of his music is quite beautiful and effective.     In addition, there is good music that gets treated very badly which, I suspect, is what makes a lot of it get called bad.   Treated badly or performed badly? There is a huge difference.   In fact I have heard a lot of contemporary music, even...gasp...folk-style music....performed beautifully and with a great deal of inspiration.   As have I- but that DOESN'T mean that I have to like it or cancel the main choir liturgy at (10:45) and bring in the folk choir instead. there is room for every musical taste in our church and- uite franky- I am glad we have SO MUCH to offer SO MANY people.     At one time even our most tried and true old-fashioned worship was "contemporary worship." At one time even our biggest war-horse pieces were "contemporary music." At one time even dear old JS himself was contemporary!!!!!!!!!   True- but JSB and the old, big war horses are now "traditional" tried and tested repertoire that has lasted centuries. The music of Glory and Praise and much of the St. Louis Jesuits, however, is burnung out and falling out of fashipn FAST. Admit it or not- look at how many churches are abandoning their G&P books these days- MANY are. One of clergy at my church told me my first week and I quote: "Don't feel as though you HAVE to do that music- the Jesuit songs. There is too much other good music out there."     Lest we forget, even Christ, the person who putitively this whole thing is about, was new, contriversial, and challenging to contemporary thinking.   Yes He was and, again- His teachings have lasted for over 2000 years, unlike Glory and Praise and much contemporary Christian repertoire.       I am tired of people in this profession standing on the podiums declaring what is acceptable. If they are not for the challenge maybe they should quit and find other means of making a living.   No- challenge is goo- new things are good- but many composere write in a traditional style instead of trying to force loud, blaring, electronic music down people's throats. Look at Rutter's "Te Deum-" an OUTSTANDING piece! And again- I wish to reiterate that i see MANY churches wishing to return to TRADITIONAL types of worship and music- obviously there is something there that has outlasted the modern stuff and that STILL appeals even though it may have been largely forgotten for many years.     GROW-UP!!!!!   I don't believe I am the one who needs to adhere to this advise. SOME of us try to maintain tradition and standards instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water and takoing the easy approach of catering to modern temporary whims instead of educating people. It's almost a case of "let's take the easy way, do whatever it takes regardless of tradition and CATER to whoever we have to in order to fill our church" instead of "let them come to us and worship in one of our many different approaches." Our church offers, on a given weekend- one folk mass, one Life Teen Mass (comtemporary ensemble), four organ and cantor masses and one "high mass" with full choir and schola, incense EVERY WEEK at that mass and chant. AND- guess which one has the BIGGEST attendance REGULARLY?????????? The 10:45 CHOIR mass       Music evolves!!!! Worship evolves!!!!!! Art evolves!!!! Yes it does- but SOME things remain as a constant and a tradition.       Do you have to like all of it??? NO!!!!! but...that does not mean that as soon as a new idea comes forth..or someone like a minister wants to try something, we run for the hills and quit in protest!!!!!   Correct again- and THAT'S the beauty of having SEVERAL different offering if possible. But when they say- we are going to do this INSTEAD of the other- then the problems arise. Scott F. Foppiano, Director of Music and Liturgical Coordination National Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak, MI Dr. Charles E. Brown >>  
(back) Subject: Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: ROBIN88866@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 12:35:46 EST   In a message dated 99-01-26 12:23:54 EST, you write:   << At one time even dear old JS himself was contemporary!!!!!!!!! >>   If J.S. Bach were alive today, he would be a jazz musician in the class of Oscar Peterson.   Robin  
(back) Subject: RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 12:55:21 -0500   Scott   I hear what you are saying, and some of your points are good. But, you made the point of saying that some of this music is not "your cup of tea." Nor is it mine!!!   One of the serious problems today is that a masters degree in liturgical music is not preparing us in liturgical music. I am not sure that it ever did.   As a person with more years in this business than I want to remember, I can honestly say that the skills and resources needed today are very different than what was needed many years ago.   Glory and Praise, which is not dying in its entirity, offers, in my opinion some beautiful resources. I have heard some simple choral settings of some of it thought brought a tear to my eye. And it is accessable to smaller amateur choirs and less sophisticated congregations.   You said that you support the "Teen Band" but want nothing to do with it; even though it gets the teens in. A minister of music MUST have something to do with it. As a minister your job is to help them grow and evolve. There success or failure rest squarely on your shouldiers. It goes with the title "Minister of Music." Let's not forget that those teens will probably be your future main congregation!!!!!     As for the folk music...Why not incorporate it in WITH your choir liturgy (whatever that is) and not in opposition to it.   As I stated...this new music is evolving and some of it is dying off while other is surviving.   But Scott..you sounded like you had a church with many resources. As the minister of music there is a responsibility to blend these resources and use them in a creative way to elevate the real job; The Worship of God!!!! The church is not a concert stage in which to show off our abilities as performers and select what we perform and don't perform. Save that for Carnegie Hall.   I apologize for say this..but..I have an objection to anyone that, when faced with these challenges ups and quits leaving the people who were looking to you for guidance out in the cold!!!!   Dr. Charles E. Brown    
(back) Subject: RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 12:57:42 -0500   > If J.S. Bach were alive today, he would be a jazz musician in the class of > Oscar Peterson. > > Robin >   Robin:   You are 150% correct on that one. I have been saying that for years..   Here is an interesting line...   I once heard someone say that improvisational jazz is the truist form of liturgical music because it comes from the soul of the moment.   Charles    
(back) Subject: Re: I need help From: Pepehomer@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 13:42:03 EST   <<I'm a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and am going into full time church work in the music field. As you may (or may not) know, the LCMS has been VERY strongly rooted in it's practice of a traditional service, including anthems and hymnody. Recently, I am seeing a slight shift in this belief to a more contemporary style of worship. It hasn't spread rampantly in our denomination as of yet, but it is becoming more popular. You are not blind to the needs of the modern congregation. Some people just prefer the contemporary style of worship. But it is my personal belief that some churches are grasping this idea of "contemporary" worship just to bring more people in the doors of the church to fill the church coffers. This is NOT right. I hope that this is not the practice of the LCMS churches that are practicing this. But, I believe that if you feel that your calling is church music, you should take another position and develop it into something rich and God-pleasing. Again, I am deeply sorry to hear of your current situation.>>   I am also an organist of a small, but rapidly growing LCMS congregation. We noticed that indeed, there is some interest in having comtemporary music but never letting go of the traditional elements, because being in Georgia, surrounded by Baptist churches on every corner, we believe that the traditional aspect is what people come to the LCMS for. So, our solution was to start an earlier contemporary service. We thought that the two services would be about equal in attendance. Well, we were a little off. First service - 10-12 people. Second, traditional service - around 100 people a service (a large jump from 60 in 1993) I still believe that a lot of regular church goers still feel that traditional is "God's music" and that it's the only way to go - which is all right. The contemporary service is also well and good, just not for all people!   Justin Karch Organist, Holy Trinity Lutheran Rome, GA  
(back) Subject: Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: ScottFop@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 13:56:54 EST   In a message dated 1/26/99 12:56:43 PM Eastern Standard Time, clmoney@cybernex.net writes:   One of the serious problems today is that a masters degree in liturgical music is not preparing us in liturgical music. I am not sure that it ever did.   You are correct. Music training says NOTHING about church politics or dealing with less than realistic clergy. I feel extremely fortunate to have the clergy I work with daily- in every respect.     As a person with more years in this business than I want to remember, I can honestly say that the skills and resources needed today are very different than what was needed many years ago.   I am certain of that. I somnetimes wish I had lived 100 years ago!     Glory and Praise, which is not dying in its entirity, offers, in my opinion some beautiful resources.   Oh? I hadn't noticed any. (And mind you- that stuff became popular while I was in high school so I got a steady and full diet of it). Funny- I still can't think of any positive aspects of it except for, possibly- paper to start a fire with.       I have heard some simple choral settings of some of it thought brought a tear to my eye.   Yea- I guess it is that bad.       And it is accessable to smaller amateur choirs and less sophisticated congregations. THERE IS MY POINT EXACTLY! amateur and less sophisticated. What about bringing MORE SOPHISITICATED music to congregations that maybe have not had the opportunity nor a director of music who had the guts to try some???       You said that you support the "Teen Band" but want nothing to do with it; even though it gets the teens in.   Then I must have typed incorrectly. I said that I am a classicaly trained organist and choirmaster and that I knew nothing about the performance of and could not play that genre of music BUT that I would support it however I could as the director of music, and I have done exactly that.       A minister of music MUST have something to do with it. As a minister your job is to help them grow and evolve. There success or failure rest squarely on your shouldiers. It goes with the title "Minister of Music." Let's not forget that those teens will probably be your future main congregation!!!!!   My title is not MINISTER of anything- thankfully. I would not want that responsibility- that is the Pastor's job and vocation. My title is DIRECTOR OF MUSIC AND LITURGICAL COORDINATION. That means (according to my contract) that I oversee and give direction to the program- NOT that I perform every note of every song at every mass- that's why I have a FULL TIME associate and there is another PAID young man who leads the Life Teen ensemble (very competently I might add). I am not and hope to never be responsibile for the spiritual well being of ANY congregation. Spirituality through music yes0 in every way- but not literally "minister."   As for the folk music...Why not incorporate it in WITH your choir liturgy (whatever that is) and not in opposition to it.   They have their own mass and I would never dream of doing that to the 10:45 crowd- nor would the clergy here desire or permit it . There is a very small group that wants that kind of music and while that Mass has a following we will continue. Again- there is a young lady who leads that group and has for years. As far as incorporate folk music with the choir? You have GOT to be kidding! No, we'll stick with Stanford, Howells, Parry, Bach, Gregorian Chant and the like at the high mass thank you.     As I stated...this new music is evolving and some of it is dying off while other is surviving.   but it all goes full circle eventually while the classics will and will CONTINUE TO maintain their place.     But Scott..you sounded like you had a church with many resources. As the minister of music there is a responsibility to blend these resources and use them in a creative way to elevate the real job; The Worship of God!!!! The church is not a concert stage in which to show off our abilities as performers and select what we perform and don't perform. Save that for Carnegie Hall.   I never said it was and I am the first to realize how fortunate we are to have many different types or worship to offer. BUT- the mainstay of music at the National Shrine IS organ and choir and always will be. That's what is expected, that is what's desired and that's what will always be the case.     I apologize for say this..but..I have an objection to anyone that, when faced with these challenges ups and quits leaving the people who were looking to you for guidance out in the cold!!!!   I don't recall having quit anything, nothing at all. They are part of the program and I look out for that. But- they are a PART of the overall program. Again- the ratio is:   Monday through Friday- two masses with organ and cantor Saturday- two masses with organ and cantor and one mass with folk choir Sunday- two masses with organ and cantor, one with full choir and Professional Schola Cantorum, one with Men's Schola OR Schola Cantorum (SATB) and one with Life Teen band.   NOW- where does the balance appear?????? WIth the organ- and it's going to stay that way.   Scott Foppiano  
(back) Subject: Re: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: ROBIN88866@aol.com Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 14:00:29 EST   In a message dated 99-01-26 12:58:57 EST, you write:   << I once heard someone say that improvisational jazz is the truist form of liturgical music because it comes from the soul of the moment. >>     I see what you are trying to say, but I don't know that I would go as far as to say that it is "liturgical." Jazz is after all, often performed in bars, night clubs and various and sundry other venues of the upholstered cess-pool circuit.   Less often, it is heard in such lofty venues as St. John the Divine here in New York and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.   Robin    
(back) Subject: RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 14:22:53 -0500   > > I see what you are trying to say, but I don't know that I would > go as far as > to say that it is "liturgical." Jazz is after all, often > performed in bars, > night clubs and various and sundry other venues of the > upholstered cess-pool > circuit. > > Less often, it is heard in such lofty venues as St. John the > Divine here in > New York and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. > > Robin     On many occasions I have heard jazz musicians improvise, both in church and elsewhere, do improvisations on hymns or liturgical compositions. Some of these improvs. defined for me the meaning of the words prayer and meditation. In one case it was Dave Brubeck. As many of you may know, he has devoted a great deal of his later compositional life to jazz/liturgical settings.   Betty Carter was another in some of her vocal renditions. I often wished we could see more of it in the future. There is something very inspiring about hearing a person perform what they are feeling at that moment and sharing those feelings with others. That is a very powerful form of prayer.   Charles    
(back) Subject: RE: The Ideal Church Position (Re: I need support...) From: "Charles Brown" <clmoney@cybernex.net> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 14:54:54 -0500   Scott:   Now you have me thoroughly confused!!!   you said in your fist post:   I resigned my position as organist in my medium-sized Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church tonight.     You further said:   Our choir director and I are both graduate students in a Master of Church Music Program closeby. He also resigned last week.     And in your last post you said:   I don't recall having quit anything, nothing at all. They are part of the program and I look out for that. But- they are a PART of the overall program.   Which is it???????   Charles    
(back) Subject: Re: I need support... From: "George Husson" <george_husson@hotmail.com> Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 12:15:53 PST   I was also at the Second American Classic Organ Symposium in Salt Lake City last week and had the chance to visit the Cathedral of the Madeleine as well. What "DudelK" says is true: this church did a really nice job of mixing the old with the new. The prelude and postlude were both Buxtehude (not sure if he actually played the Buxtehude at the beginning); the opening hymn was "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise," well known to Episcopalians and becoming better known to Catholics but nonetheless traditional. At communion we sang Richard Proulx's, "I received the living God," definitely in a contemporary vein but still contemplative. There was chant here and there, with a traditional closing hymn.   What has made me successful in music ministry is to try to mix a little of both old and new together. If we are ministers then we need to make sure that what we're doing musically "speaks" to as many as possible in our congregations; to be that inspiration to bring them closer to Christ. I think this is done with Mozart's "Ave Verum" as well as "Shine, Jesus Shine." It's in knowing when and how much of each to put into the mix.   It is great to hear of what is successful in each of your church situations. Keep writing.   --George Husson Director of Music & Liturgy St. Sebastian the Martyr Catholic Church Greenbrae (San Franciso), California       >From: DudelK@aol.com >Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 01:31:54 EST >To: pipechat@pipechat.org >Subject: Re: I need support... >Reply-To: "PipeChat" <pipechat@pipechat.org> > >In a message dated 99-01-26 00:56:54 EST, you write: > ><< My question is...and I hope to stir up a little discussion with this...am I > wrong to be so solidly convicted that quality, well-written anthems and > hymnody leads to a more authentic worship experience? Am I completely blind > to the needs of current congregations? >> > >Absolutely not! This has been discussed and analyzed ad nauseam on these lists >over the time I've been on them. Perhaps the most that can be hoped for is >some kind of peaceful co-existence between the tried and true and the totally >trendy, just as fine restaurants continue to exist along with fast-food >outlets, purveyors of quality merchandise continue to flourish along with >discount outlets, and so on. Every now and again a real ray of hope emerges, >as was the case when I visited the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake >City during the recent Mormon Tabernacle Classic Organ Symposium. Rather than >feeding the kids a diet of happy-clappy, they have established a coed choir >school and have attained an enviable standard of excellence in a relatively >short time, thanks to gifted and dedicated musicians and supportive clergy (as >well as a magnificent building with great acoustics and a fine organ). There >will always be those who will appreciate quality -- we just may not be in the >majority. Don't give up the struggle -- it's worth the effort!     ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com