Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Sing a new song

I had a meeting today with the Scout group that is organising the St George's day service with me on the issue of FORGIVENESS and we got to discussing the music for the service. This is a service which welcomes 500 young people and leaders into our church and as much as we can make the content welcoming and the service sheet friendly together with a page to colour for the Beavers and yougner Cubs, the issue of music is ALWAYS difficult. What songs and hymns will "everybody know"?

This evening a group of us were picking hymns for the services in April and the same issue arose.

We're no longer in a position to assume that there is a "common hymnody" (as my friend called it) in our society. Gone are the days when we could guarantee that young people or adults would KNOW certain hymns or songs. Many people of my generation will not have sung many or any songs and hymns at school. I remember the repertoire at my secondary school consisting of three songs and one hymn. I imagine, in fact, that our school was unusual for having Christian assemblies. This must be even more rare now.

So how DO we select music for these events? People feel the NEED for there to be singing but what do we choose?

Surely we have to face the fact that for many young people, and indeed adults, the concept of a large group of people all singing together at anywhere other than a large sports event is completely alien.

I will be playing some music on CD for people to listen to (a few ideas for this but any suggestions will be accepted!) but we still have three places in the service where we have put a "hymn" and I STILL need to find something to put there. Ideas anyone?


Maddie said...

I suppose I would say the hymns that get chosen regularly at weddings are the most likely to be known (people choose the ones they know)

All things bright and beautiful?

erm... now my mind has gone blank

simo said...

The trouble is most of these young people are going to be under the illusion that the church is full of old people who sing stuffy old hymns, and that is not relevant to their culture. I say have no hymns, get in a GOOD band, play some contemporary stuff and talk off the back of it, get them thinking about the positive and negative influences of the music they listen to. The regulars will hate it, you may lose your job, but the scouts will see something they haven’t before and it may just spark up some interest in what all this god stuff is about anyway. At least it would be great if you could anyway wouldn’t it. Sorry I have no more help that that apart from (last minute idea) what about some more contemporary versions of some of the old hymns Phatfish, Chris Tomlinson kind of things?

KT said...

I went to a C of E school and they still have christian assemblies. Unfortunatly they are still singing the same songs as when I was there (10 years ago!).

But the point is that some kids will know songs, and otherwise crank up the volume so the kids can enjoy themselves until the get the jist of the tune.

I remember one camp (actually the one i became a christian on) the first song was Mary Mary's Shackles. Loud enough that we could sing totally out of tune but even the person stood next to us couldn't hear!! It was awesome!

Kathryn said...

Be inspired by what the Victorians did when they were in the same boat - take the popular tunes of the day that non Church people will know - and stick Christian words to them. Who knows, maybe in 200 years time, the Church of the future will still be singing them!!!

KT said...

there are some great versions of how great thou art and amazing grace out there.

i like Kathryn's idea but the trouble is that you remember the real words and get distracted and vise-versa

i remember standing in church on one occasion (i think it must have been a concert) trying desperatly hard not to sing 'gory gory what a terrible way to die when you're wearing frilly knickers and you don't know how to fly' to the tune of 'glory glory hallelujah'!!