Sunday, August 19, 2012

When a congregation really likes a song... they sing it

Bringing the music director to the difficult decision of "what if it's a less-than-ideal song?"

This morning, I found myself surprisingly inspired at the robust singing of "I am the Bread of Life."
(Another controversy in itself... should the congregation be singing in the "voice of God," blah blah... Personally, I have minimal problem with it, particularly when the song is so obviously taken straight from the Gospel reading for the day.)

Today was unusual because instead of our usual tiny congregation in a huge space of ~100, it was probably double that, due to the class of 1957's 55th class reunion, of the (now closed) girl's high school that was attached to the parish. (Think of the age of those ladies... of course IatBoL is going to be one of their all-time favorite songs!)

I had picked IatBoL prior to knowing this would be a special occasion, and I admit that when I sang it at Communion, I was so pleasantly surprised by the rich and warm singing that resounded through the church on the refrain. A rare sound indeed, in our relatively empty and cavernous but beautiful church! (I also have to say... I really don't mind that song ; other church musicians of my acquaintance hate it, but I would take it any day over "Song of the Body of Christ" or "All are Welcome." Other than the range, I don't find any musical fault with it.)

It's just nice to hear the congregation, you know, singing, and then I get to feel free to actually, you know, play the organ loudly! How fun! :-)

(Note: I'm not saying I ought to do IatBoL more often because people like it- I think the particular people present for this reunion like it a great deal, but I also think it doesn't hurt to do it and things like it occasionally. It, and songs like it, with well-loved refrains, can really inspire people to sing in a way that they sing only a few hymns, like "Hail Holy Queen," and "Holy God We Praise Thy Name.")

1 comment:

Charles Culbreth said...

Joy, spot on!
I have oft-times compared IatBoL to "O say can you see."
All the naysayers assure us that we CAN'T POSSIBLY NEGOTIATE THE TESSITURA, the Vox Dei is AN IMPEDIMENT, and the melody is hackneyed!

I counter with "Damn your torpedoes, full speed ahead."
If they are moved to sing something with an octave plus five, they'll sing it. Period.

Good on ye