[This is an installment in the periodic Monday Worship Music series. Find other, related posts through this link.]
Then, having returned to that church for a visit more than a quarter-century later, I took it to task (in a long paragraph of this blog) for some ineptitudes one particular morning.
Now, I’m returning again to be nice. Consider blogs # 1 and 3 to be happy bookends for the one negative experience. 🙂
After seeking nausea relief medications for recent congregational singing experiences at a larger church ‘cross town, Jedd and I ducked in to West Side on the evening of July 20 and found, to my great spiritual and psychological pleasure, these things:
- a capable, young song leader
- music notation available for every song (and only a couple flubs in the PowerPoint operation)
- most important, three of the four songs we sang were of high quality!!
How few Sundays in my experience involve an appreciable amount of high-quality, worthwhile worship material? Let’s put it this way: like 9.5 out of 10 are disappointing. So, needing some encouragement, but not really expecting to find it, I couldn’t have been happier with the above items.
The leader appeared to be in his early 20s and used his hand and voice well. He wasn’t directing any particular aspects of the singing after beginning each song, but he did nothing distracting, and I’m more than willing to give him a few years to be able to lead with a little more intentionality. He really did quite well. This was the most pleasantly surprising song leader I’ve experienced in more than a year, anywhere.
The availability of music notation needs no further comment here. (See blogposts available at this link for some rather redundant, yet rather necessary-in-my-view, feelings on this topic.) Kudos to West Side, for recognizing that notation helps congregational singing.
Addendum 7/24: Randall, a regular blog reader, has provided this link to a very worthwhile treatment of the value of hymnals. While the emphasis on printed media is not often my emphasis, and while I think the blogger is a trifle too inexperienced to say a few of the things he says, he has provided a really fine, rational, overall approach.
The songs we sang were these, in order:
In two of the above, there is a significantly worshipful God-awareness component. In the other, a focus on communicating with God in prayer. And in the first three, some well-composed music: more or less hymn-style, harmonically interesting but not too difficult. Although I don’t connect personally with the final song, it could have been a lot worse. The leader showed some maturity and discernment in his selection — and I do believe they were his selections since they didn’t appear to complement the sermon in any direct way. Again: good for West Side in allowing worship/singing to stand on its own without subservience to the preacher and sermon.
All in all, it was a good evening, and I was glad to have been able to sing with these believers at West Side.