I remembered some of my old quotes, and in light of what has happened since then, I decided to reflect back on those times.
"Tragically, we won't do it at church again because our church music leader announced a change to an all-karaoké format using exclusively pop/rock/hip-hop from one music publisher (BMG). The songs our leader now uses are worthless pop junk, and I can't see myself singing it because technique must be violated in order to "sing" this material! It does not have any message, as it focuses squarely on the beat. Besides, I’ve imposed a no prerecorded accompaniment policy out of respect to the instrumentalists I have used when I sing. Consider I've paid cash and merchandise to my pianists and actually worked with my voice teacher in booking them, it's important I reward them for work."
Last year during a recital, in addition to paying the cash my voice teacher usually asks us to pay our accompanist, I also paid my accompanist (a college student who is a dear friend) with a fresh home-baked pumpkin pie. Now I don't know what college students can do but having fresh pumpkin pie to share with the roommates is a good thing for the season.
As for that music leader at church, allegations arose that he had been in cahoots with some students at the public middle and high school in the area, and some of the antics were questionable. Some wanted him out because of the music (what virtue is there in church music when they are teaching kids to dance to a hip-hop tune?), while others (mostly from those schools) supported him, despite his clear push that pop-rock karaoke and hip-hop dance was "in" and majestic masterpieces of solid theology were "out". He was forced out for his actions in school, which he defended in his resignation letter, but the assistant is in the same mould of support of pop/rock and teen dance (he teaches in that school system), and he is not a paid staffer. At the urging of a few members, I asked to be considered as part of a committee to find the next music leader, and it's clear where I am going. When you have an alliance with classical singers and not afraid to support the "meat and potatoes" of the serious sacred material with sound doctrine and its timeless majesty, and to turn away from the "cupcakes" of the modern pop-rock, known for its sappy secular love songs, lack of theology, and short life span, it's obvious which side of the ball I am hanging, and with apologies to Dick Vitale (whom I met while in college), it's an NC'er. The great sacred masterpieces need some
"A piece that made me laugh -- Gianni Schicchi."
When I am frustrated by my alma mater's slide, I jokingly say if this continues to our rival, I'm taking a suicide dive down the Ponte Vecchio into the Arno. It's obvious where that is coming if you've heard Gianni Schicchi. When I called my voice teacher after the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands Turkey Day Run III, she smiled because she knew I was thinking of Gianni Schicchi, and O mio babbino caro. Too bad we don't have people who understand opera or get jokes based off opera.
"A piece you've been meaning to listen to or perform. -- Handel's Messiah."
Last year I finally took the plunge with a friend's church, participating in excerpts of the masterpiece. I enjoyed all practices, but am probably not doing it this year because of travel and how doing the work on consecutive days this year (I usually participate in a local choral society's singalong with friends the Monday of the week before Christmas) would affect my singing. (That church's production is very late compared to last year.) The "Six Weeks of Handel" became one of my highlights of 2006. Of course, Handel is Handel. There isn't another work like it, and sadly we teach our kids to avoid them for what they want, and that is the no-talent material of faking everything that is popular because of the major publishers -- EMI Group plc, Vivendi, and Warner Music Group. They cash in each time a church performs their mostly secularised pieces because of copyright, and people support them because they believe the beat matters first, and the lack of theology is irrelevant.
Of course, they want their church to be a clone of Granger Community Church in Indiana, where their services feature secular rock songs and television themes with pop psychology instead of solid Biblical teachings. The services have featured themes based on 24, Mad Money, Desperate Housewives, The Office: An American Workplace, and other popular programs, and their "worship music" is actual pop-rock tunes, no theology. That does not work.