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Music at Church


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On 11/17/2022 at 3:34 PM, 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! 

Pogi: Thanks for thinking of me. I do enjoy this song quite a bit. As a boy I sat on Billy Graham's lap at the ice cream shop at the famous Winona Lake Bible Conference in Indiana. I was born in Warsaw, the town right next to Winona Lake. It had a huge tabernacle with a genuine sawdust floor (The Bible Conference - not the ice cream shop!). Billy Graham was my idea of a modern prophet, not in the mold of OT prophets with a foretelling ministry, but with a forthtelling ministry. I hope our ward will open up the music a bit. It is quite sterile (in my opinion) as it is. Love the song. I would like to find out who the gentleman is playing the guitar next to her. I really like his gentle style. Best wishes to you in your new calling.

Edited by Navidad
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