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35 minutes ago, pogi said:

I have just been called as the ward music coordinator, which came as bit of a surprise to me since I am not classically trained, don't know how to read music very well, have never conducted, don't play the piano, and am not a great (but not terrible) singer - the usual qualifiers.  I am however a multi-instrumentalist songwriter with some improv skills and plenty of experience playing and recording with rock & roll bands and folk/bluegrass groups.   I play the banjo (my first love), the guitar, bass, mandolin (my current love), and dobro, and am learning the piano.  Before the changes to the handbook, there was no real way for me to express my testimony through music at church.  But now as the music coordinator sustained with the new handbook and the blessing of my bishop I am excited to worship in a more diverse voice/instrumentation/style than has previously been known and experienced by our church, at church, in modern times.  

Our previous music coordinator was definitely more of a traditionalist who also happened to be...you guessed it...the organist.  Up to this point, I have not seen any special musical numbers performed with anything other than the standard instruments/styles previously allowed.  I think there has been some hesitation to go against tradition, especially with a very traditional music coordinator directing things.  I am curious to hear about your experiences at church.  Have you seen any changes in your wards since the new handbook came out?  

I have spoken with my bishop and have received the green light to include non-traditional instrumentation in special musical numbers.  November and December is all planned out, but in January, I am excited for my mandolin or guitar (haven't decided yet) to reverberate off of the walls of the chapel during services for the first time in history.  I will be doing a duet with my wife, who unlike me, does have a heavenly voice akin to Faith Hill (no joke - she's that good).  I have chosen one of my very favorite hymns (not found in our hymn book) to play. It is called "Just as I am".  Perhaps @Navidad may appreciate this selection as I know it was a favorite of the reverend Billy Graham who was actually converted to Christianity while this hymn was playing (according to him).  It has been recorded by some of my heroes like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, along with other respected greats like Alan Jackson, and more recently by Carrie Underwood.   While I am necessarily a huge Underwood fan, I really like her rendition of this song and will be using her rendition, either with my own twist on mandolin, or on guitar.      I absolutely fell in love with the lyrics and love its history.  I find it so timely in so many different ways.

Anyways, I know this has been discussed in the past, but I wanted to see if there are any new updates in your wards.  Has anything has changed?  I hope that I will inspire others who may have been hesitant to bust out their instruments of praise in all different culturally diverse styles.  As the new handbook says, and which I am so excited for:

Here is a short clip of the history of the hymn if you are interested:

Here is Carrie Underwood's rendition:

Who knows, maybe the banjo will come later :D It can be done incredibly beautifully and reverently, believe it or not! 

Oh man wish I was in your ward!

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On several occasions we had a man play his guitar and he and his daughter would sing a duet right at the pulpit. It was beautifully done and no one complained. This was before any changes in the handbook. I think some bishops may have a little too much starch in their collars. If it is done reverently and tastefully, I don't have a problem with it.

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

I have just been called as the ward music coordinator, which came as bit of a surprise to me since I am not classically trained, don't know how to read music very well, have never conducted, don't play the piano, and am not a great (but not terrible) singer - the usual qualifiers.  I am however a multi-instrumentalist songwriter with some improv skills and plenty of experience playing and recording with rock & roll bands and folk/bluegrass groups.   I play the banjo (my first love), the guitar, bass, mandolin (my current love), and dobro, and am learning the piano.  Before the changes to the handbook, there was no real way for me to express my testimony through music at church with my specific talents.  But now as the music coordinator sustained with the new handbook and the blessing of my bishop I am excited to worship in a more diverse voice/instrumentation/style than has previously been known and experienced by our church, at church, in modern times.  

Our previous music coordinator was definitely more of a traditionalist who also happened to be...you guessed it...the organist.  Up to this point, I have not seen any special musical numbers performed with anything other than the standard instruments/styles previously allowed.  I think there has been some hesitation to go against tradition, especially with a very traditional music coordinator directing things.  I am curious to hear about your experiences at church.  Have you seen any changes in your wards since the new handbook came out?  

I have spoken with my bishop and have received the green light to include non-traditional instrumentation in special musical numbers.  November and December is all planned out, but in January, I am excited for my mandolin or guitar (haven't decided yet) to reverberate off of the walls of the chapel during services for the first time in history.  I will be doing a duet with my wife, who unlike me, does have a heavenly voice akin to Faith Hill (no joke - she's that good).  I have chosen one of my very favorite hymns (not found in our hymn book) to play. It is called "Just as I am".  Perhaps @Navidad may appreciate this selection as I know it was a favorite of the reverend Billy Graham who was actually converted to Christianity while this hymn was playing (according to him).  It has been recorded by some of my heroes like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, along with other respected greats like Alan Jackson, and more recently by Carrie Underwood.   While I am necessarily a huge Underwood fan, I really like her rendition of this song and will be using her rendition, either with my own twist on mandolin, or on guitar.      I absolutely fell in love with the lyrics and love its history.  I find it so timely in so many different ways.

Anyways, I know this has been discussed in the past, but I wanted to see if there are any new updates in your wards.  Has anything has changed?  I hope that I will inspire others who may have been hesitant to bust out their instruments of praise in all different culturally diverse styles.  As the new handbook says, and which I am so excited for:

Here is a short clip of the history of the hymn if you are interested:

Here is Carrie Underwood's rendition:

Who knows, maybe the banjo will come later :D It can be done incredibly beautifully and reverently, believe it or not! 

Dude. Time to sneak in some Grateful Dead. I mean, “Samson and Delilah” is Biblical. “Greatest Story Ever Told”?

Obviously and without question, though, you must play “Salt Lake City”

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Christmas programs are pretty open for instruments. You might get push back on the really loud brass instruments (trombones, bugles, etc.,) electric instruments or a full drum set (a ward in our building did get permission to use a small drum for an interesting medley of "Drummer Boy" and "What Shall I Give Him"), but acoustic guitars are pretty common and I've even seen them used even in traditional sacrament meetings and several baptismal meetings.

We did handbells for Christmas one year (with the Primary song, "Christmas Bells"). We also used a French horn with an oboe and a flute once with a really beautiful "Silent Night" instrumental trio. We had a piccolo, a harp, viola, violin, cello, stringed base. Honestly, I don't think you'd get turned down for any of the woodwinds or acoustic string instruments for special musical numbers.

You MIGHT get push back outside of Christmas, Easter and Mother's Day for veering too far away from hymns. Both of the Bishops I worked with in the six years I had the job were open to everything I suggested for those three holidays. One insisted on hymns or primary music (varying arrangements were fine) for sacrament meeting.

The other preferred hymns/primary song arrangements as well, but he let the youth perform music from the special youth programs and approved other pieces I brought in as well. Mainly because my non-hymn music was usually pieces that had won prizes in the church music contests (available on the church website), hymns from hymn books from other countries, or songs the Tabernacle choir had done. 

I will say, however, that it has been my observation that most members prefer hearing familiar music at church - which means primary songs and hymns. Special arrangements are appreciated of course -- but familiar songs -- that's what gets to them. I see it in their faces and hear it in the comments after the meeting. 

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Coming from a Church of Christ background I am very familiar with Just As I Am. This hymn was often used as the “invitation” song. This would be sung right after the preacher finished his sermon. Anyone wanting to be baptized or confess their sins was “invited” to walk to the front of the church and write their request on a card. The cards were then read to the congregation once the song was over. Man, this brings back memories. 

 

Edited by Peacefully
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11 hours ago, MiserereNobis said:

Dude. Time to sneak in some Grateful Dead. I mean, “Samson and Delilah” is Biblical. “Greatest Story Ever Told”?

Obviously and without question, though, you must play “Salt Lake City”

This reminds me of a friend who would always sneak in Grateful Dead lyrics into his talks/lessons, prefaced with “as the great prophet once said _________.”  Everyone assumed it was some obscure Joseph Smith quote.  Little did they know that they were being edified by the words of the great Jerry Garcia.

Edited by pogi
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On 11/18/2022 at 10:34 AM, pogi said:

I wanted to see if there are any new updates in your wards.  Has anything has changed?  I hope that I will inspire others who may have been hesitant to bust out their instruments of praise in all different culturally diverse styles.

We've had stringed accompaniment (guitar, violin, etc.) in this stake for as long as I've been here (nearly 20 years). No change there then.

The ward I was adviser to back in June/July had a musical item during its ward conference that morphed into congregational singing after a certain verse (or number of verses). Accompaniment was varied but included a trumpet. We had a member of the 70 there that day, and after this item was finished, I heard him whisper to the bishop: 'Well, your ward has certainly taken the Handbook updates to heart!'

Slightly different context, but tonight our stake had a musical interfaith fireside that I helped plan and then conducted. Music-wise, we had a Sikh hymn accompanied by a harmonium, a Hindu hymn accompanied by a shruti box, a Sukyo Mahikari song accompanied by a violin and a drum, and a Shona-language gospel choir accompanied by maracas, clapping, and some trilling. Our contributions were prelude music on violin and cello, one musical item accompanied by the same, and one accompanied by piano.

I know it's not music, but we also had brief addresses from a Sikh representative, an Imam, and the East African Pastor whose choir sang; a Sukyo Mahikari prayer for peace; a reading from the Torah by one of our rabbis; and a few words at the end from our stake president. It was a very good night! People ate and talked in the hall afterwards for upwards of an hour. Our full-time missionaries (seven of them new this transfer!) were amazing at talking to literally everyone.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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On 11/20/2022 at 3:04 AM, Rain said:

Sounds like the church is serious about making music changes with the changes with the tabernacle choir.

This sounds promising!

It also reminds me of my oft-quoted recollection of what Elder Bednar said to us in a priesthood training meeting back (I think) in 2015:

Quote

We were told that 'the Lord is constructing a Church that will be able to fulfil its divine global mandate and that it would be "unrecognisable" in everything but doctrine before He's finished'. He also told us that the Lord had just finished laying the foundation of the Restoration, and that it was time to build the proper structure on top. He also mentioned his fear that it would be American Saints who would most struggle with coming changes since many of them are more attached to the culture than to the doctrine.

 

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On 11/18/2022 at 5:39 PM, 2BizE said:

Would love to hear a nice hymn on your dobro in sacrament meeting.

I'm excited to get to play it.  There is nothing more hauntingly beautiful than a hymn on dobro.

 

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On 11/21/2022 at 4:22 PM, pogi said:

I'm excited to get to play it.  There is nothing more hauntingly beautiful than a hymn on dobro.

I've seen Dobro guitars, and thought "How odd!", but didn't know that's what they sounded like. Obviously I've heard them being played before, but didn't know what instrument they were. Looks rather difficult to play -- I've never been able to finger a guitar particularly well. I mean, I can fiddle with the fretboard OK, but fingering the strings like this player is doing is something I've tried but mostly failed to do well enough to please myself.

Edited by Stargazer
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59 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

I've seen Dobro guitars, and thought "How odd!", but didn't know that's what they sounded like. Obviously I've heard them being played before, but didn't know what instrument they were. Looks rather difficult to play -- I've never been able to finger a guitar particularly well. I mean, I can fiddle with the fretboard OK, but fingering the strings like this player is doing is something I've tried but mostly failed to do well enough to please myself.

If you have a hard time with left hand fingering, then the square neck dobro may be just the instrument for you.  There are actually a couple types of dobros (resophonic guitars), a round neck that requires fretting and a square neck that is played on your lap with a slide (lap-slide guitar).  

The square neck strings are actually like an inch above the fretboard so you couldn’t fret/finger it if you wanted.  All left hand technique is with the slide.  Right hand uses finger picks.

It is tuned to open G so all major chords are fairly straight forward and easy, minor chords, etc require a little more technique.   If you like the sound, you have to check out Jerry Douglass. He is the master!

His opening song in this set is a pretty incredible rendition of “Hey Joe” by Jimmy Hendricks.

 

Edited by pogi
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I find it fun and interesting to imagine how someone came up with a particular musical instrument (or food stuff or anything else not obvious like the transition of rock to hammer or rock to saw).  I am seeing someone bored on a Saturday afternoon who just bought a new guitar and is wondering what he should do with their old one, but maybe it was more hearing a certain sound in their head and trying all sorts of things to find the best expression of it.

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