Saturday, February 7, 2015

Music and church

To some extent its a question of talent, but most music produced by Christians is so derivative. When I was younger (and maybe its the same today for those who are younger), I was enthused by bands that either used the idioms of the day, or, as Christians, sought a general audience. A uni friend of mine (he was my best man at my wedding too) was in a band called After Forever: they liked Deep Purple; a few years on there was a band from Bankstown (south-west Sydney as we say these days), Surprise Surprise, who were great exponents of the former; a 'Christian ska' band. I heard them at Thornleigh Church of Christ before it went off the rails. The only representative of the latter I am aware of is Avion, which was one-hit wonder; but I did like that song (I've heard rumours that Midnight Oil members had some Christian influences too).

What's happening these days? Don't know. I am more interested in Arvo Part's music than the diversions of pop, although some of it is catchy; but that's all. But where are our Bach's, who are redefining music? Do we aspire to excellence in church music, or is near enough good enough?

In my church we are concerned to develop people into ministry; usually this is the ministry of the Word, but there's a bigger range than that, and music is part of it and an important part, both to treasure our heritage and to serve our and future generations. At St James, King Street, which I attended for a few years, there was an organ scholar position, maybe there still is, and a choir that did fabulous work (until the Rector had a tiff with them and it all got upset); but I don't think that this is a priority in most churches, sadly. Luther would have been appalled.

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