Tag Archives: musicianary

The irony is not lost on me

So, as a music director, I often plan out upcoming music as far ahead as three months at a time. This may seem excessive to non-music folks, but in order to prepare who has to rehearse what, for how long a time period (believe it or not, some people don’t sight read for Jesus on Sundays well), and making sure the needed head count will be available on dates when their part is integral to a particular piece are all parts of the puzzle in music ministry to be paid attention to. Sometimes we have to adjust on the fly.

I am currently serving with a small congregation just building up a music ministry and the youth have truly stepped up front and center to participate. The song we (or rather, I) planned to go with the week’s readings is Kari Jobe’s, “I Am Not Alone.”

That is until my guitarist has to be out of town this weekend and my lead teens have a family event conflict…so effectively, I would be actually alone singing a song entitled “I Am Not Alone.”

The Kari Jobe song is officially getting pushed back a week until the group returns. Obviously.

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Share a Little Bit of Your Love

This adorable song by Ray Repp from the 1970s is in one of those old Augsburg Press annual vacation Bible school/Sunday school books I’ve had from years and years ago. As always, any song we share with our young Praise Band has to mean something to the kids, and this song is spot on. They really love it.

Therefore, we shot this quick learning video for our youngest musicians to learn the words (since they don’t read yet) by practicing it at home this week.

Much like “Pass It On” by Kurt Kaiser, something tells me this song is going to very popular on Memory Lane for a lot of people.

Song info: Words and music by Ray Repp (c) 1978 K&R Music, Inc. from the original recorded and published collection, Benedicamus.

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Psalm 8 for Trinity Sunday, Year B

Golly, but look what I found in the archives on my external hard drive: a practice video for the young lady who was going to chant Psalm 8 on Trinity Sunday of 2014. Luckily, the lectionary readings come around every three years ūüėČ

 

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Frustration = more determined

I got the call from the church in Florida two nights ago and have been processing until now. What my liaison on the committee told me left me in shock. He said that when he walked into the search committee meeting the night before he was expecting maybe a ten minute meeting because everybody at the church had given such positive feedback about me. However, in his words, the meeting “turned into four hours of knock down, drag out” and in the end, some of the elderly committee members felt the church should take the “safe route” and hire the local applicant because they didn’t like that my self-employed electrician husband wasn’t going to ditch all of his long-establishd clientele and just move down to Florida with me lock, stock and barrell. Like they’re hiring my husband???? I thought I had made it very clear to them that by the time he finishes up all of the work he’s got scheduled for this year alone and looks into getting his electrician license for Florida and then networks to line up work there, he wouldn’t be able to follow me down for about a year. If he and I don’t have a problem with that, why in the world should anybody else??? In this day and age, one goes where the career moves you.

I’ve felt sick to my stomach for two days about it. Why did God allow some old-fashioned “a husband and wife are joined at the hip, she can’t possibly be functional or committed to the ministry at our church without him right here at her side” mentality block my stepping into a full time music ministry position that felt so right?? I was absolutely sure that it was the door God was opening for me. I was believing for it and speaking out of my mouth all sorts of affirmations about it. Now I just don’t know what to think.

Was my faith not strong enough? Was is not the right church after all? If it was, why did God allow the “traditionalists” to overrule the younger set who are the ones actually growing the church? Is that all the 11th hour stumbling block was, or was it something else that my liaison didn’t tell me so as not to hurt my feelings? Was there a flaw in my character somewhere that I should know about so I can work on fixing it in myself? Did God let that position slip away¬†because He’s got a more appropriate place lined up for me? And if so, where is it so I can send a letter and apply for it NOW!!!?!??!?! Why is He keeping me sitting here day after day being bored out of my mind in an area of the USA where Hughesnet actually has no service reps so we have to put up with dial-up internet?? I can’t download music to keep up to date on the newest Christian artists and their releases, I can’t listen to podcasts from my favourite mover-shaker churches, it takes ages for inspiring blogs to load on my computer, and I can’t even watch the YouTube videos I post online much less any other audio or video streams. Yeah, I know: whine, whine, whine. Urrgh.

I am so frustrated I go between crying at one moment to feeling nothing at all, empty and forelorn. I know in my head that God cares about me and has a good plan for my life, I know that He has annointed me for full-time ministry, but right now, believing it in my heart after this really big slam is feeling very difficult. I am trying to be positive and not let myself get depressed about this huge disappointment by working on new recordings (all contemporary right now) and new videos.

If I can’t find a full-time position in a church with both traditional and contemporary services, I’m going to focus on¬†at least seeking a part-time post with a church emphasizing contemporary style worship. I may enjoy both styles for different reasons and at different times, but it’s time to draw the line. I can always attend a trad service if I want to. Most important to me is that I need to be an active part of the leadership in a contemporary, reach out to the everyday man on the street, upbeat community. It’s part of what being a musicianary means to me, and I’m more determined now than ever.

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Needed to hear it

Yesterday after church, someone said something¬†to me that I really needed to hear and that I kind of forgot about until just now. I’ve been going through this weird kind of doldrums for the past few days, going on nearly a week and am having a tough time shaking it. At St. Andrew’s the vicar makes a circuit of several small parishes in the month and is with this congregation once, maybe twice in a month. It was nice that he was there for Mother’s Day and that it was a Eucharist service because he was there.

Me being me, I can’t just sit in on a worship service that doesn’t have music and not offer to play, which is how I came to be playing for St. Andrew’s while waiting for a full-time assignment in the first place. Been there since Maundy Thursday, about a month.

Following worship service, we’re all standing around chatting and the vicar said to me how much he appreciated my being there even if I weren’t playing the organ for them. He said that something about my personality and presence in the room “lights up the place” and that my inner¬†energy was contagious.

I know that God has annointed me with a full-time vocation in music ministry and I really needed to hear that and to hang onto it.¬† Next week, I head down to Florida for my eagerly anticipated interview/audition and I need to be as “up” as I can possibly be. I’ve had a hard day today not feeling well physically and had a hard time getting motivated to do anything until I just now thought of what the vicar had said to me.

I needed that reminder. Thanks, Lord!

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St. Andrew’s

While waiting on God to open the door for me for a full-time ministry position, I’ve been volunteering as organist over at a small Episcopal Church nearby and was in to practice on the two-manual Allen organ today. I love the interior of the sanctuary – the gothic arches with their carved gargoyles and the beautiful chancel. It’s very conduscive for praying. The sun comes up behind the altar in the early morning which makes the room glow; unfortunately, I didn’t think to take out my camera until early afternoon.

Entering St. Andrew's Sanctuary

Entering St. Andrew's Sanctuary

I’m hoping to record me playing the organ there sometime soon, but when I tried today, the electronic organ didn’t generate quite enough oompf to really pick up clearly on the camcorder. I’ll have to fiddle around with where to place the camera to pick the sound up better.

View of organ and Sanctuary from choir

View of organ and Sanctuary from choir

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Holy Week musings

I passed up an offer yesterday (on Passover, ironically) to work for a small church about fifty miles away. I had had a fabulous interview, although I wasn’t psyched up about going to it until I was almost there pulling into the parking lot and I begged God to put the words in my mouth He would have me say because nothing was coming to mind.¬†Once inside and talking with the interview committee, God came through as usual and I was full of life again as my usual effusive self came out when discussing my philosophy of music as ministry. But in the time since that interview, I wasn’t enthused. Then I felt really uneasy after receiving the official offer call yesterday morning and didn’t know quite what “the problem” was going on inside of me. I couldn’t even think to myself, “yay, a paycheque” – I just could not get excited and hoped that my lack of enthusiasm wasn’t apparent on the phone that morning! I just knew I shouldn’t accept the position because I’m that sure God is about to open a full-time door for me, and knowing I would not be able to continue at that position for long, I don’t want anyone disappointed at my hand.

While contemplating whether or not I should call the pastor back, in the meantime an amazing thing happened to me. Because God does stuff like that:

I had already decided to attend Maundy Thursday service at noon yesterday at a small Episcopal Church nearby and with all the whining going on in my head, I was afraid I was going to be late getting there. I pulled onto the parking lawn and those who were arriving immediately came over and welcomed me with huge smiles and warm handshakes. When we went inside, the vicar asked if they should pick hymns that everyone knows since there wasn’t an organist, and I offered to play. Talk about suddenly feeling “special”¬†– apparently they’ve been without an organist for some time and had been hoping for one, then *poof!* in I walk. So I played for the liturgy, and also again today at the Good Friday service. But I jump ahead.

I found myself emotional during worship. When it came time for Eucharist, we all went forward to kneel at the altar and receive communion, and I felt interior turmoil about several things that have been on my heart lately and about seemingly nothing at all. Maybe it was the full moon, I dunno. I felt at home in the “high church” setting even though this charming country chapel was very informal. Yet it had that feel of being in the abbey that I miss terribly. I came out of church feeling great, hymnal under my arm to practice the hymns for the next day’s service, and headed to town hall for the errands I needed to run.

By the time I got home, however,¬†I was agitated more than I was in the morning. I called the pastor back and told him I wasn’t comfortable accepting the position and why. After hanging up, I felt better which tells me it was the right thing to do. One of the things I have been praying for during this fast is for discernment, and when my gut was churning so much over a small, part-time job, it must be important to listen to because I know God must be trying to tell me something.

In the meanwhile, the verse that keeps running through my head is from the parable of the talents where the master commends the faithful servants for being fruitful with the small amounts given to them so that he then entrusted greater things to them.

It seems to me that the reason that Scripture was on my heart so strongly yesterday was because I don’t need to “just take any job” simply because I need a paycheque; I need to keep believing that God is about to open a full time door for a music ministry position that He has prepared especially for me to fill. I took a position last summer merely¬†because it was offered and I thought I needed a paycheque more than I needed a good match for my gifting – and it was a fiasco from the start. I’m still healing from the way I was treated there.

Playing organ for the tiny Episcopal Church and very appreciative group of ladies this week has assured me that volunteering here for awhile is where God would have me wait for His hand to move. I know He will provide for me and my needs and that He knows best what I need and when.

Tomorrow is the final day of my fast and then comes the breaking of the fast with a lamb dinner on Easter Sunday. Even my mother is going with me to the Episcopal Church for Resurrection service. I can’t wait to see what next week brings because God is not only faithful to provide, He’s amazing.

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