Autumn is my favorite season. Here in Wisconsin, the weather is “just right” (not too hot, not too cold!).. and the trees are showing off their vibrant reds and golden hues. I take about every chance I can to get outside and take it all in.. after all, it will be snowing soon!
I love this time of year in church, too! By now, our choirs and ensembles are back in full swing. New members have been recruited and are diving in, services and special music are being planned, and Christmas music has found its way into our folders. It’s definitely a busy.. and rewarding.. time of year.
This month’s theme is Many Voices, One Song. I hear that phrase and in my mind’s eye I see a worship ministry with people from different backgrounds… different places on their journey… different stages of life… but all with the goal of making music and praising our God together. What a beautiful picture that is!
As an editor, I have the privilege of being immersed in church music almost every day and working with a stellar group of composers and arrangers. Talk about “many voices!”
When I’m at my desk in Milwaukee with my red pen in hand, I’m really digging into each song… playing through each anthem, adding chord symbols in some cases, trying to remember if we divide “spi-rit” or “spir-it” (I still have to look that one up from time to time!), determining if that slur should go above or below the notes, thinking about voiceleading and “how does that accompaniment fit under the hand,” and lots of other things. Talk about “many measures!”
And when I’m in the recording studio working with our amazing players and singers, I have the joy of seeing and hearing it all come to life for the first time… truly becoming “one song.”
As you work through these next few months, I encourage you to think about Psalm 133:1 – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live [and sing and play!] together in unity!” In that spirit, I share with you some of my favorite anthems to help take your “many voices” and transform them into your church’s own “one song” of praise.
- Awake, My Soul!, by Heather Sorenson – excellent as a call to worship
- Credo (We Believe in One God), Ragan Courtney and John Purifoy – a great way to sing the creed and affirm our faith
- For All that You Have Done, Rend Collective/arr. Heather Sorenson – “in unity, we’ll stand as one.. shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand….”
- Many Gifts, One Spirit, Diane Hannibal/arr. Joel Raney – based on I Cor. 12:1-12
- On This Glorious Day, by Mark Patterson – combine the adult and optional youth/children’s choirs, trumpet and handbells for a multi-ministry anthem
- One Song of Praise, by Joseph M. Martin – “we are all made one in Christ’s embrace.”
- Serve the Lord with Gladness, Rollo Dilworth – a great multi-generational anthem, something for children/youth and adult choirs
God’s richest blessings on you and your ministries!