During this vacation break, of which I’ve never taken before, I was approached by a church member in one of the many food outlets in our Reisterstown community with, “I missed your song leading!” My reply, “I’m on vacation.”
Arriving home after that conversation with a wonderful friend, I began to think about “song leading.” Why we practice this and what are the results we want to see and hear.
First, I have spent my life working with voices, both teens and adults. Because of the teachings of my mentor, the late Robert Shaw, my ears were opened to, and made aware of nuances in pitch, rhythm, diction, and balance.
Second, the focus on melody, again through Robert Shaw, and Clydesdale, Goss, and a host of others, strengthened my desire to work on arrangements of folk literature, hymns, and spirituals. During my earlier years at Peabody, I could not change notes, or chords, or rhythms. I had to own the melody, respect the structure, words, phrases, verse and sequence. I learned to think counter point for more than harmony for church singing of hymns. Today however, my harmonies are all over the spectrum.
Song leaders must sing the melody with conviction, hope and love. They must set an example for you to follow. I remember acappella singing in the church in 2002-3 with wonderful voices singing the great hymns of the faith and doing so with freedom and gusto. They were not being correct to the music page but being correct to the song with feeling and vitality.
So, in closing, I look forward to our time together on September 20, 2015 at 10:30 am. It will be an introduction to a wonderful season of incredible anthems and yeh…hymn singing. As you sing, communicate your love for Jesus Christ.
God Bless You,
Director of Music Ministries