Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Church gigs

Almost every church I have sang in is...interesting to sing in. Churches, like schools, appreciate music when it's done well, but often lack the means or understanding of it to make it happen well on a regular basis. Sometimes they stumble upon someone who knows what they're doing (as a singer, as a pianist, as a solo instrumentalist, etc)and they gratefully hand off the musical reins to that person, with no concern for how big an undertaking it might be to form a music ministry or how much experience that person might have administratively or musically.

(I'm mostly talking about small town churches...not the mega-churches that are down south or out in the midwest - they are a completely different story. Here in New England, there is no dearth of churches with populations of 100 or less on any given Sunday.)
It's also interesting because of the "audience." The congregation is often as uneducated in fine arts as the general public (parents and teachers) at a school. Many churches have gone the route of praise bands and community choruses...which - don't get me wrong - if done well, I really enjoy and find truly worshipful at times. I believe that can be just as frangrant an offering to God as other types of music. Some other churches believe that only hymns and songs from the Gaither time are worthy for God's ears. When churches are made up of people used to one type of music or the other, there tends to be a very suspicious attitude toward any other style...("that's the devil's influence") which I find at times amusing, at times intensely annoying and narrow-minded.

For example, Jon and I just left a church that was very traditional musically - all hymns, no 'crazy' instruments or praise choruses sung there. But, not all were opposed to it, they just weren't used to it. In fact, a year or so before we left, the pastor and I had been working on getting more a praise chorus worship team going.

Problem was, the only people with any sort of musical ability were my husband and I. We were also the only people there on a regular basis that didn't have gray hair. Besides Jeremiah.

So now, we are in a church that has a thriving praise team, who are very good...I very much enjoy listening to them and worshipping with them. The music director heard Jon and I singing one sunday (we sat near her at the organ) and now has me singing special music from time to time - which I think is great as it gives me more opportunities to perform. I do mostly classical music, since that's my training and she made the comment to me that she would love to have classical music every week, while making some sort of inference that the people at this church "need it."

What? Why would they "need" classical music? I got along quite well without it for most of my life...now I really appreciate it, but it is quite hard to do well, and that's the only way I like to listen to it. It doesn't seem to make sense to me that people unaccustomed to hearing classical music "need" to appreciate it, when there are many valid types of music out there...if done well.

What do you think? I am obviously not down on classical music (I sing it all the time), but wonder about classical musicians' judgmental attitude toward other musics at times. The church setting is a whole 'nother issue, and this is definitely not the most cohesive blog post I've put together...but maybe some food for thought? I know many musician friends who say the music at a church greatly affects their worship time (and I am one of them)...what say you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I am just so very tired.

Yes, I am going to complain now. I have tried to be upbeat, in real life and in blog. And, I have enjoyed a lot about the last few months, which has not been at all terrible. At least, I keep reminding myself of that.

Reminding myself that this is the pregnancy's fault. I am not normally this worn out or cranky or just...blah.

(at least...I hope I'm not. I guess I should say, I don't normally feel so blah.)

Gosh, that sounds like I'm fishing for people to tell me how wonderful I am, and uncranky...which if you feel like saying, fine. (see, I'm not even trying to be superficial right now... ) :) But, I'm really not. I'm just spewing. It's good to spew every now and then...so says my therapist.

I don't really have a therapist. at least not currently. I did at one point...never mind. We don't need to get into that. Suffice it to say, I'm hormonal and tired. Or, at least people keep reminding me of that.

And when they don't, I try to rationalize my behavior that way.

ok, so...here's the scoop of the last few months:

- I just finished the high school musical that I co-direct every year. It was a great group of kids, a fun show...and I'm very much done with it. I completely blame my pregnancy hormones for my lack of enthusiasm at times for this production, because it was well-received, enjoyable as a whole experience, and I get paid very well. But I was SO ready to be done when it was done. The drama director and the music director (me) need to have some sort of different relationship than the one this drama director and I had...she and I are too similar, I think: laid-back, trusting, non-yellers who try to treat the kids as mini-adults. In contrast, our "assistants" (who were the directors in past years) are strong-willed, aggressive, passionate yeller-types who get things movin'-and'shakin'. Don't misread me...I think it needs both types of people, I just think at least one aggresive personality needs to be up front more for the times in rehearsal when kids decide to take requests such as "stop talking backstage" and "be off book by february break" as optional. We need a yeller then. These people come in about 2 weeks before production and clean house. They scare me sometimes. I'll admit it...I do not like conflict. It made it a little nerve-wracking to not have a true "alpha male" personality in charge. I kinda had to take that role...which was strange for me.

And it "peopled" me out.

I just want to crawl into a hole with a great spy novel and eat chocolate and drink crystal lite and not come out for 4 days except to kiss my hubby and son every now and then and make sure they're ok. Oh, and pee every 20 minutes. That's been a great development.

Also singing a lot, but that doesn't need to be talked about now. Sang with W________ Opera W_____(now known as G_____ W_____ Opera) and am singing at church on Sunday. I'm singing one of Jon's favorite songs "The King of Love my Shepherd Is" by Gounod. Ah, Gounod. I would sing you any day of the week. Early emo-music was what he was.

Anyway...I have a million things I want to do around the house to prepare for this baby - wash clothes, paint trim, paint walls, buy slipcovers, research more curtains and rugs, make/buy cloth diapers, convince Jon to use cloth diapers, get books to prepare Jeremiah for forth-coming baby, plant a tomato garden, try to make 2 weeks worth of meals to freeze in extra freezer, etc, etc, etc. Oh, and CLEAN EVERYTHING. I know. I'm overwhelmed reading it too. But, I am convinced it can be done...with other people to paint for me so I don't have a baby that has inhaled paint fumes. Or, whatever...they don't inhale. ("I didn't inhale!")


So, yeah, just blah. I will now take my blah self and eat some cereal.

Aren't you glad you read this uplifting post? Don't answer that.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Things I love.

my baby kicking me every time I sit/lay down.

genuine interest from others of how I'm doing.

finding the "real" in conversations with friends.

sunny days with bright sun and shining and warmth and sun.

a working fireplace. (no, we don't have one.)

this stuff. All of it...would love to buy it and give or receive as gifts.

fantasy books - like Narnia or Harry Potter or Eragon or Spy novels (Daniel Silva is GREAT.)

peanut sauce. even though it got accidently splattered on my clothes, on on my floor, and in my hair. A certain 3-year old was mortified.

new clothes. I want to be unpregnant again so I can wear all these cute things I keep finding.

how tiny babies are...

the color lime green

the book of Ephesians

our new church

Jeremiah singing "Hosanna" with Micheal W. Smith

inspiration for bedrooms finally setting in.

freedom from fear

homemade caramel popcorn. If I haven't made this for you, it's probably because I tend to eat the whole batch by myself. And it has a stick of butter in it.