More Thoughts on Church Music

10 Aug

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistWal  pardner, now that you have asked, I have a couple of  things to say about church music. Loved your blog, by the way, Onisha. Opening a dialogue may help.

The church we are now attending has a contemporary service and a traditional one. The traditional one is at 9:30, which is okay with us. It gives us time to get ready in a leisurely way and gets us out by 11:00. That’s when the contemporary service starts. We get the beautiful sanctuary, they get the big fellowship hall. I’m sorry to report that stained glass windows and real pews are pleasurable to me.

Stained glass png

They don’t seem to label the two services, so we first attended the 11:00 o’clock contemporary service. I, who have not yet lost my hearing, had to wear earplugs, not only for the music but for the service as well. Oh, by the way, in case anyone needs to know, I’ve used about all the earplugs on the market and I’ve found the white wax ones work best. I can still hear but it’s not painful. Soon all the children will start to turn deaf and then no one will need earplugs any more. There are only so many decibels the human body can stand without deafness setting in.

But I digress.  Our grandchildren’s parents used to invite us to Christmas specials at churches around their town, but they had to stop because even when we didn’t complain they could tell the service was just plain too loud for us. That was one pleasure forfeited, but the grandchildren are all grown up now and out on their own, so I suppose it’s not a huge loss.

I read that one of the churches in town is going to have a “Swing Low,” evening. I’ll bet that would be fun, but I’ve been fooled too often to think the volume will be something I can handle, so I have decided not to ask Bill to take me. That’s okay, as a young performer said in a contemporary service: if you want to hear hymns, listen to them on your iPod. Believe me, I do, I listen to them frequently and I sing along too. iPod,  iPhone, and You Tube are my go-to devices. Really, if we didn’t want to, we wouldn’t have to attend church at all. We could just use the T. V. and the Internet and send our tithe to them. A friend told me that their minister of youth made a teaching out of “why we don’t use hymns in the church anymore.” I wouldn’t have minded hearing his thinking on the subject, but I probably would have had to wear my earplugs in order to do it.

Believe it or not, loud sounds distress me in a way I can’t control. One time, I had to walk out of a church because the music gave me such a panicky feeling I felt driven out. It would be all right not to have instruments, as Onisha suggests, but perhaps it’s not so much the instruments that raise the decibels as it is the powerful microphones and speakers.

Any good rant has the phrase, when I was a child:  When I was a child and we had plays in school, we were taught to speak loudly enough so we could be heard all the way at the back of the room. I know from personal experience that it’s easier to use mikes, but at least everything didn’t have to shut down if the candles blew out.

The church we’re attending now seems to have some decent long-range plans for making more people on both sides happy. We’ve been going there for a couple of months now and haven’t heard the same music group twice. This church has a long history of highly valuing its music and musicians. Sometimes the young people come in and sing hymns for us, too. They seem to like them fine, even though they’re not particularly easy to sing if you aren’t used to them. Many younger people, learn real music in chorus and band. I’d love to hear the fruit of their labors reflected more in church services – and we are hearing that now, so I’m not complaining about what we currently get.

The church we’re attending has a small, but good band. They have an admittedly senior choir. They had a “younger person” play a gorgeous saxophone piece last week. The pianist is top-notch and well educated in music. She lives for it. During the week she may be seen popping into the library in a lovely dress on her way to a nursing home to play.

One good thing has happened with the hymns here, they’ve been jazzed a bit. Maybe the no-hymns group will like them better that way. I do. You could actually waltz to them now.

The church we were in before was so casual they even valued having me as part of the praise team because I could sing loudly and usually carry a tune. We had a keyboard, acoustic rhythm instruments (yes, tambourines – gasp!) and six or seven singers. We had one hymn a week. Other than that we sang the older choruses that had melodies and the songs that the minister of music wrote herself. We had no hypnotizing droning. Everyone could hear the music very well, but it wasn’t so loud that anyone would be deafened by it.

I dearly love the younger church set. I love their enthusiasm for church and what they are doing for the children in giving them pertinent and exciting activities.  Such grace, such variety, such hard work. Sorry if you feel that we older people are a burden because we won’t or can’t change. We’ll be gone before you know it. You’ll miss us, though. Is it possible that even God cannot deal with this problem? Now why would that be? I thought he could do anything.

Here’s an old one made new. I like it, how about you?

One Response to “More Thoughts on Church Music”

  1. Old Things R New August 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    Thank for adding your thoughts, DiVoran ❤


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