Sunday, March 27, 2005

Some thoughts of my sister Joanna on music:

On Friday, the Vancouver Sun had a very interesting article entitled "Mennonites and the Music". Wes Janzen, conductor of the Trinity Western Choir, and Jon Washburn, conductor of the Vancouver Chamber Choir choir, are both quoted at some length. The article is written by Lloyd Dykk. If you get the Sun and you haven't read the article, you might as yet want to read it. It's in section B, pgs 2+3. He writes about the lamentable lack of singing in churches and the emphasis on the "me" in much of the new music. "If the first person singular becomes the primary focus, is it possible that we have lost something of authentic Christianity?" and "There was a time when the movers and shakers were church musicians influencing the secular culture. Today, secular music has a dominant influence on contemporary church music." quoting Wes Jansen. He continues "The major publishers and distributors of new 'worship' music are now secular companies. These secular gate-keepers of the musical product are motivated primarily by market economics. Sadly, the songs that they market are mostly disposable--used for a year or so, and then tossed. A lot is consumable paper-cup music. Historically, the church has run into trouble when market economics becomes a broker of worship.." As a Calvinist who loves the old Psalms and Hymns, that have comforted, admonished, encouraged our forefathers, these comments speak to me :-)

Then a few weeks ago (Sat. Mar. 12th, Arts and Life section) there was another article on choir singing--"Something to sing about. Choral singing enjoys a quiet renaissance as people discover the liberating power of music." "If news reports are correct, young executives are switching their gym cards for lunchtime choir practice. Choirs have been swamped with applications thanks to the movie, "The Choir". "Troubles melt away the minute the first note is sounded. Singing is liberating. Voices become intimately connected in unison, cutting through the loneliness of urban life."I thought both articles interesting.