Thursday, January 17, 2008

Music in Church

I have a difficult time adjusting to changes that I don't institute. This is probably because I'm a bit of a control freak. The church that we attend has had a lot of changes in the last year. Our pastor took another call and we had a vacancy pastor for 8 months. The church has experienced budget woes and decided to close the pre-school and grades 5-8 of the Lutheran Elementary School. In February of 2007 we got a new minister.

Our pastor has made some changes in the worship service. Some of the changes have been good, and other changes I find distracting. Our organ was moved to the back of the church and the choir now sings from the back of the church also. My father always liked to have choirs sing behind the congregation. His reasoning was that when a choir sings in the front of the church, the congregation is focused on the singers and not on the words being sang.

I've noticed that I can't hear the choir when they are standing behind the congregation. The words seem to run together and I can't distinguish most of the message. Finally, last Sunday I figured out why. Our ears are facing the front of the church. The sound waves do not have a direct path to enter the ear. I'll have to try turning slightly to the side the next time the choir sings.


Cheryl said...

I can understand the thinking behind your pastor's decision, but I think the primary consideration should be acoustics (because that, after all, is what will help the listener to understand the text better). And it sounds like the acoustics are better with the choir up front. Maybe in time your pastor will realize this and make another adjustment!

Also, just one more thought on this question: a good choir/singer will use facial expression to reflect the text, so it could be argued that seeing the choir would aid the listener's understanding of what is being sung.

Glenda said...

This is why Kantor Resch always puts the words in the bulletin. That way there is no wondering what is being sung. Once you know the words, they are clear when singing and enhance the listening pleasure and even the contemplation of the text. I'm all for putting the words in the bulletin.

Btw, this is also why I like the words printed in the cd cases to whatever cd, classical, country, rock, etc. that I'm listening too. Otherwise I would have never gotten that David Lee Roth was saying "looking for a moonbeam" in "Everybody Wants Some." Or the kids wouldn't have ever figured out that the country guy is singing "free and easy" not "fred easy." :-)

Karen said...

Cheryl, I'm hoping that the pastor will decide to make adjustments, but am leary of making suggestions. The pastor is dealing with a lot of sticky situations in the congregation, and I don't want to add to his burden. Great point about the facial expressions! I didn't even think of that.

Glenda, I'm going to mention to the church secretary (also choir director) about putting the words in the bulletin. There is a lot of rubber-necking in the pews while the choir sings. Thanks!