Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sour Notes

Guest Comment

Hadleyblogger Bobby offers the following observations on his church's music budget, and identifies some of the most frustrating aspects of modern church music. Although Bobby's speaking specifically about his own church, his concerns reflect real questions about the future of classical music. As has been written in the past, there is truth in beauty; and as we risk losing the natural beauty of classical music, we risk also losing the truths contained in it - replaced by an increasingly raw secular culture that views popularity and utility as being greater values than aesthetic beauty. Where is the next Mozart, the next Beethoven, the next Vaughn-Williams? Where, for that matter, is the future of church music?


My church is to meet next week to vote on the 2006 budget, and I analysedsome interesting notes.

Music Ministry:

Teen pop dance: Up 25% - from $800 to $1,000

Youth choir: Down 40% - from $500 to $300

Adult choir: Down 14.2% - from $3,500 to $3,000. Down 40% in two years.

Children's choir: Down 33.3% - from $750 to $500.

Teen puppets: Up 50% - from $4,000 to $6,000.

It's clear and evident now at church the support is going to the teens and their puppet and dance troupes. The choir is on its way out. Those whoare pleading to remove the music minister have more support. Also theproposal for an organist to be hired has been eliminated.

It seems the teens are taking too much control, and church music is going out with the bathwater as kids want more dance troupes and no choral groups.

There is no value from seeing kids dressed in 1960's garb dancing to "Spirit in the Sky" or in tee-shirts and jeans dancing to "Throw Your Hands Up" (I've corrected grammatical mistakes in the title), or what has become of the youth choirs, dancing to "Shackles" (which some kids and leaders want), resulting in complaints by some parents.

The budget is designed to give the teens a continuing edge and to eliminate anything sacred of quality and replace it with music more secular and more dance to secular songs.

The leader keeps buying the more karaoké for the choir, and now sing exclusively from the same BMG series, buying over $1,500 of music books and compact discs each time. I looked at the new choir books for Easter, and many of the songs are the same songs from the Easter 2004, Easter 2005, Christmas 2004, and Christmas 2005 musicals, just bought in a new package as to allow for new karaoké discs to be purchased with the same pop-rock. Why can't we just stick with great classic selections and live music, and keep it that way? Is there an attitude among pop-rock supporters of not wanting anything which has withstood the test of time?

At this rate, there is a sense to the more classical vocalists in the choir that they are being sent "out of the draft" and being shuffled high -- and with that sense, it seems I'm hanging there waiting for my voice teacher and friends hook up to help me!

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