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Shocking how little the organ can be valued in church...

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  • #46
    Originally posted by daryljeffreyl View Post

    Since the older people will certainly die, and attendance decline, I don't see an alternative to bring in new people, even if they don't integrate with the older people. You may have to have separate services or masses, for the younger people, with more contemporary music, and more overall contemporary services and masses. The young people, future generations, are the future for buying products and services, in the general economy, and for expanding church service and mass attendance. We, the older people, are rapidly becoming the past. When we are in the cemetery, we won't be buying and products, services, or attending church, and contributing to the collection basket.
    Don't forget to include contemporary theology. If I were not working for the church, but attending as a congregation member with no other responsibility, I could probably tolerate a variety of music styles, but I would not tolerate an out-of-date theology that doesn't reflect current societal changes.

    Unfortunately, too many ministers are too narrow-minded and/or have preaching/presentation skills that are too inadequate to satisfy me.

    Comment


    • #47
      Organists getting no respect - the Rodney Dangerfield dilemma. (From the Allen Owners Facebook page.)

      Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Saville Series IV Opus 209; Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Gulbransen Rialto; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by daryljeffreyl View Post

        Since the older people will certainly die, and attendance decline, I don't see an alternative to bring in new people, even if they don't integrate with the older people. You may have to have separate services or masses, for the younger people, with more contemporary music, and more overall contemporary services and masses. The young people, future generations, are the future for buying products and services, in the general economy, and for expanding church service and mass attendance. We, the older people, are rapidly becoming the past. When we are in the cemetery, we won't be buying and products, services, or attending church, and contributing to the collection basket.
        Interesting points, daryljeffrey, and a little different perspective that I haven't considered. There can be no argument against bringing in new people. After all, that is an important part of the church's mission. And a church that isn't interested in welcoming newcomers isn't much of a church! And I have to agree that in the long run it's not going to matter what we old-timers want or think, because we'll be dead and gone some day.

        I just don't think that starting up a contemporary alternative service is a good method for bringing in new people, even if we admit that the older members and the newcomers may never actually bond. (Though I think churches can successfully be multi-generational without splitting up services, with seniors and children alike benefiting from the interaction of older and younger people.)

        In the case of my small church, adding a contemporary service should be judged a total failure -- even after 8 or 10 years of offering this service, it only draws a handful of attendees each week, though to be fair the only two families in the church with small children attend that service. (But only because it's at 11, and the 9 o'clock service is too early to get the kids out the door on Sunday.)

        To an objective observer, it sure looks like the church would've been much better off to maintain a single service. Having two services only makes for extra work for the preacher and for the small core of dedicated helpers who pitch in to man the computer, projector, and sound system needed to run that service. And the dozen or so people attending that service might not be a lot, but when the traditional service only runs 30 to 40, having another 12 to 16 in that service would sure help morale.

        Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but most likely if our church folks had known how it would turn out, they would've rejected the idea outright. The work that went into and continues to go into that service might have been applied toward making the single service better. Our traditional service suffers greatly due to the absence of children. When we do happen to have someone visit with small children in tow, it is such a joy and delight to hear the chatter and noise of the kids, no matter how distracting it might be to the service. I'd rather hear children giggling and having fun in church than to see a bunch of folks sitting in stony silence with glazed-over faces!

        John
        ----------
        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

        Comment


        • #49
          Without doubt, there are congregations who successfully maintain two services, one of which may be a more contemporary one to offer an alternative to the other more traditional one.

          My experience with this is limited to one congregation with a pastor who was mistakenly under the impression that he was god's gift to humanity. He organized a Sunday evening contemporary service. He used church money to hire a praise band. After less then a year had passed, everyone realized that the people attending that service were just Sunday morning people who wanted to see this work - not to provide a contemporary alternative, but more to attract new people to the parish.

          What they didn't realize and were reluctant to talk about was the fact that the minister was awful. He spoke of the need to bring more joy to our Sunday morning services. I proposed the following - that we set up two video cameras to record the service. One would run continuously, the other would be turned off whenever music was being presented, so it would only record the non-music parts of the service. I then suggested that during the week, we would get together to view both recordings, take note of where the joy was lost, then make the necessary changes.

          The minister was just wise enough to realize that the loss of joy would happen whenever he opened his mouth. Although he agreed in principle, he never took the next step to get this set up and the idea died until his next tirade about the services not being joyful enough and I'd present this idea again.

          This same minister refused to let me, the organist, meet with the people hired to install a new-to-us, transplanted pipe organ. He told them that he would deal with them and that I had nothing to offer. Once the organ was finally in, I had to ask the minister for permission to practice! The installation was mediocre - certain deficiencies in the original installation should have been dealt with but weren't.

          Going back to the original thought - it is no wonder that any visitors coming to our contemporary service would have realized it was being run by a fool and never bothered to return.

          Comment


          • #50
            It does not surprise me at all. It is the same with my baptist church, they have a small Allen organ that has not been used for at least 15 years. They would sooner get some guy on a acoustic guitar. I am from England and moved to America nearly 5 years ago. I really miss my local little church in Devon England with its wonderful pipe organ, stain glassed windows and old oak pews. There are no "traditional" looking churches here in Phoenix AZ. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things i much prefer with baptist churches here in the U.S. but a powerful and robust organ with old hymns sung.... nothing better!
            Chris Nabil - Owner of a Roland Atelier 900 Platinum.

            Comment


            • Admin
              Admin commented
              Editing a comment
              To say that there are no traditional churches in Phoenix is an exaggeration. I'm not a church goer, so I don't have an extensive knowledge of church going's on but Trinity Cathedral in downtown Phoenix and St Barnabas in Scottsdale are two Episcopal churches with traditional services and excellent pipe organs. In general, if you're a practicing Baptist, I think finding a traditional service in Arizona will be difficult, but there are certainly Lutheran, Episcopal, and Methodist churches with traditional services.

          • #51
            Originally posted by regeron View Post
            Don't forget to include contemporary theology. If I were not working for the church, but attending as a congregation member with no other responsibility, I could probably tolerate a variety of music styles, but I would not tolerate an out-of-date theology that doesn't reflect current societal changes.

            Unfortunately, too many ministers are too narrow-minded and/or have preaching/presentation skills that are too inadequate to satisfy me.
            Excellent point.

            Comment


            • Admin
              Admin commented
              Editing a comment
              Please use the comment option for a simple reply instead of taking up a large amount of space with quote and a two word remark. Thanks

          • #52
            Originally posted by daryljeffreyl View Post

            Since the older people will certainly die, and attendance decline, I don't see an alternative to bring in new people, even if they don't integrate with the older people. You may have to have separate services or masses, for the younger people, with more contemporary music, and more overall contemporary services and masses. The young people, future generations, are the future for buying products and services, in the general economy, and for expanding church service and mass attendance. We, the older people, are rapidly becoming the past. When we are in the cemetery, we won't be buying and products, services, or attending church, and contributing to the collection basket.
            Bringing in new people to be a part of your faith community is how the church will grow, but I will share with you my feeling that the older people are not only essential, but are that special sauce that all communities need. When I was a young member of my church I was too young for the older kids and too old for the younger kids to hang out with. It was the "older people" who had the time for me. I would make my rounds at coffee hour and made many friends. Including our organist who would let me sit on the bench while he practiced after church as long as I didn't squirm around. Those people are long gone now and as church historian those voices and others before them are ones I try to bring to life. They, and many before them, also saw changes in the church in their time as they worked to build community and remembering the past gives us comfort as we move towards our future.
            ​​
            A few years ago our church was doing a visioning exercise to help us reshape our mission and vision statement and to reflect on what it meant to be a member of our church. We ran several visioning talks over the course of a few months at each others houses. I was not the only one who suggested that the contact between the young and old should be enriched. Sure we are all together at coffee hour, but if kids don't know you they will shy away or do their own thing. But to miss out on the joy of having intergenerational relationships is too important for us not to nourish.

            At that time someone, probably our ​pastor, had the idea to try an all ages worship. Usually the kids stay up until the children's story and go downstairs to class, but on this day they stayed. The worship was geared towards the kid in us all. We didn't know how people would react, would some hate the noise, would parents feel unwelcome if their child could not sit still? Well I'm glad we tried this out, because people loved it.

            Then we decided to be bold, as our theme for the year was boldly ​​​​​seeking and bravely doing God's new thing. Now our AWE, all ages worship, happens once a month. Many were worried that attendance would be down those weeks but that's not what happened. What happened was that AWE Sundays are now the most well attended services all month. One of the most special weeks for me was the blessing of the stuffed animals. We all brought out favorite and there were some very special ones there and they all had story's of their own.

            This year we started out each on teach one, where members of the congregation, with help from the teachers, go to the Sunday school and teach the lesson of the week. We have artists, craftsman, and all sorts of people in our church. People love it, and when coffee hour comes everyone knows each other and I have to say the grown ups are more inclined to talk to the kids, and that's good for them too. When we started these programs we only had 4-6 kids who were somewhat regular, now we have 8-10. They just came in their own.

            Music worship is also something that is personal, but we have learned to suggest ifeas, talk it out. My son always accused us of being too white, he has a point. I think he wanted a little more movement and life in the singing, "not so puritan he would say".And we do have to push ourselves outside of the box at times, but that's what a church community does. For the most part we are piano and organ and singing from the choir,with additions from college soloists from the Boston Conservatory. We also have musicians in our church so we sometimes hear violin or flute or acoustic guitar during collection. I would prefer more organ, others don't care, it's okay as long as we are one church family.


            ​​​​​​i understand we all go to different churches but my point is don't sell yourself or your generation short. When I was young your generation taught me to garden, set spoons in a pyramid shape, do puzzles without a picture attached and make a walking stick. Those are moments in time I'll never forget

            Comment


            • #53
              Vibesmom143,

              Welcome to the Forum ! We are always happy to have new members, and I hope you will continue to contribute.

              You make some very good points in your post; ones that I have been thinking, but have not posted about. Learning ( about church, And about life in general ) from the elders in the congregation is indeed one of the best things that can happen to younger people. A lot of times the young people get advice, or are exposed to ideas, that they do not want to hear about at the moment, but they certainly can stick with them as they live their lives, and in the future they will recall them, and those things are helpful.

              Like you, I had many of the same experiences. That of course could not have happened if all the kids were consigned to Sunday school only. We now are living in an era where kids of the last couple of generations past have never been taught how to act appropriately in a church service. That is due to the influence of "do whatever you want in church" style of "worship", so the parents never taught them decent church manners. But if you have young people IN the congregation during regular worship services, they Will pick up by observation of everyone else how to be reverent. By extension then, they will also note that even the Old Timers are serious about their faith, so there might well be some good reason for that.

              And that is exactly how a church family should work. Particularly in our times now, when families are not quite the same as they were when we were young, it should be part of the church's mission to fill in in whatever ways it can. But to my way of thinking, that Does Not include changing Gods truth as the church sees it, to fit the whims of modern youth, or unbelievers in society at large.

              It also should not include changing the worship style to garage bands playing to entertain the crowd. The purpose of music in church is Not to entertain !!! It is a vehicle to communicate the Gospel first, and all the other articles of our faith second. If the music is beautiful while doing those things, that is a wonderful testament to our Creator who gives us the gift of music in the first place.
              Regards, Larry

              At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

              Comment


              • #54
                Thanks for sharing Larry, I agree the music is fundamental to worship for me personally and I love that we take the approach that the music is not separate, but one thread of the fabric of our service including prayer and preaching. Music sung at me instead of with me would not work for me personally. Loud faith style singing is not my cup of tea, although it may be for some on the forum so I say that as a personal reflection rather than a commentary. Some may find that music very inspiring and I can respect that even though I would not seek out that type of worship myself personally.

                What is so special to me is our organist/piano/choir director works so hard with the choir, children’s choir, and soloists to bring in a variety of music pieces that represent the liturgical seasons. She also chooses hymns we can all participate in. Some of us may grumble at times when she opens us up to new hymns that are harder to sing, but as our preaching challenges us to grow and explore our faith, our music ministry provides us the opportunity to grow as well with a nice mix of the hymns we know by heart while introducing us to new hymns.

                i also acknowledge that not all members of the church May feel as I do. I see some enthusiastic singers and others who listen but don’t participate, even some who may have come over to the Protestant church from the Catholic Church and wonder why we must sing every verse. But I do believe we all share the knowledge that the commitment and dedication to the work that our choir and musiciscians put into the service are not lost on anyone.

                Our organ was installed by the Frasee company when our church was dedicated in 1951, and our piano is a Baldwin. As church historian I am working on a written history of our organs in both our old and new building. I’m happy to be a part of this forum as I work through that process, diving down into the stories of the members who chose the design and played the instrument for past congregations.

                Comment


                • Larrytow
                  Larrytow commented
                  Editing a comment
                  When doing your organ research, you may want to look at the OHS ( Organ Historical Society ) database website. Not all organs by all builders are listed there, but yours might be.

                  Also, I think the correct name of the builder might be Frazee, not Frasee.

                • voet
                  voet commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Do you possibly mean the Frazee organ company? There was a Frazee in Park Street Church in Boston that was replaced by an Aeolian-Skinner in 1960.

              • #55
                Originally posted by sweet melody 79 View Post
                It does not surprise me at all. It is the same with my baptist church, they have a small Allen organ that has not been used for at least 15 years. They would sooner get some guy on a acoustic guitar. I am from England and moved to America nearly 5 years ago. I really miss my local little church in Devon England with its wonderful pipe organ, stain glassed windows and old oak pews. There are no "traditional" looking churches here in Phoenix AZ. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things i much prefer with baptist churches here in the U.S. but a powerful and robust organ with old hymns sung.... nothing better!
                I don't think you will find a more Traditional service in Phoenix than the one at Central UMC. They have a marvelous pipe organ and several terrific choirs (that sing many of the old masters). The service itself is quite liturgical. (I wish my church here in Dallas were like that.)

                David

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                • #56
                  Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
                  I don't think you will find a more Traditional service in Phoenix than the one at Central UMC. They have a marvelous pipe organ and several terrific choirs (that sing many of the old masters). The service itself is quite liturgical. (I wish my church here in Dallas were like that.)

                  David
                  I will have to check them out David! Many thanks!
                  Chris Nabil - Owner of a Roland Atelier 900 Platinum.

                  Comment


                  • #57
                    Originally posted by sweet melody 79 View Post

                    I will have to check them out David! Many thanks!
                    You're welcome. Central UMC was my sister's church and I attended a service there in September 2017--it was awesome!

                    Comment


                    • #58
                      This is a very interesting discussion. A few thoughts about it from Holland (for what it is worth).

                      The traditional "Reformed" churches in Holland remain to do better than more 'liberal' churches here, when counted by Sunday worship attendants.
                      In this traditional worships:
                      - there wille be sung some 4-6 Psalms, maybe 6-12 stanza's in total (so the singing doesn't take much time).
                      - there will be a long sermon (one hour or so)
                      - the total time of the worship will be one hour and 30 minutes
                      - there are many children in there, from as young as 6 years old (mostly they are in all the time)
                      - mostly there are two worships each Sunday (attended both times by mostly the same people, exept parents who has to care for their little children)
                      - mostly all the churchmembers actually attend to each worship (including myself, as organist one time per Sunday)
                      - the organ is played some 15 minutes before start of the worship, during which time the people come in the church
                      - the organ is the only instrument played during the whole worship
                      - mostly there are well maintainded pipe-organs in it, and plenty of young people will want to play it, although I must confess that the last 10 years or so the enthousiasm for organ playing is decreasing.
                      - there are even pipe organs new build or enlarged in those churches, sometimes really expensive ones I.e. €500.000

                      In 'liberal' churches the situation is mostly much worse in this respect: churches are closed, the (mostly few) worship attenders are mostly 50+, there are little of them, and a good organist not seldom cannot be found (especially in little churches - the great town churches mostly has a professional organist, if there is still worship in them, which is increasingly not the case any more).

                      I have no guess why this is so. May be because the Bible is taken literal and Sin and Grace are tought in a traditional way?

                      So far my little observations from Holland. May be it is of some interest for somebody.

                      Disclaimer: I don't intend to say things are better in Holland. Or to say that traditionel "Reformed" churches are better than 'liberal' ones. I only thought it fruitfull to share the observations.

                      Dutchy.

                      Comment


                      • #59
                        Thanks for the observations, Dutchy. Some of the same things could be said in this country, with some differences. Churches here are truly varied in their worship as well as in their theology and their social positions. We have very traditional liturgical churches (in several denominations -- Episcopal/Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and others I'm sure) with robed clergy and choir, grand organ and choral music, rich full-featured liturgy, "bells and smells" and all the rest. And at the opposite extreme are the "anything goes" worship-style churches with rock bands, singers wearing blue jeans and holding a microphone, singing contemporary pop or rock-style songs, where there is absolutely no liturgy of any kind, just a music fest followed by a sermon.

                        Theology and social positions are also all over the spectrum, from the most rigidly conservative to quite progressive, and everywhere in between.

                        While in general, the churches with highly traditional liturgical worship are more likely to be progressive in theology and social practice, and the contemporary-music churches likely to be quite conservative in theology and practice, there are many exceptions, with some that have both traditional worship and rigid conservative views (such as the Anglicans), and some with contemporary worship paired with liberal theology and social outlook.

                        Another variety of church that doesn't really fit either description is a sort of old-fashioned free church or evangelical church with roots in the American pioneer days, where worship is certainly not liturgical in any way, but not contemporary either. More of a "song service" (a time of almost random hymn or Gospel-song singing) followed by a sermon (often lengthy), and these churches tend to have VERY rigidly conservative theology and social outlooks.

                        And while it seems by most measures that the fastest growing, most successful churches are those with contemporary music paired with a fairly conservative theology, there are certainly other churches that are doing well while offering strictly liturgical worship and liberal theology, though they are surely outnumbered quite soundly. And there are apparently growing and vibrant churches in the "song service with a sermon" category too.

                        One can only say that there is no single "style" of church that succeeds in the USA. But it is undeniable that many of the "mainline" denominations (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, and my own Disciples of Christ) and shrinking, some rather shockingly. And the largest churches in the country right now are certain totally contemporary churches and a few of the "blended" style churches where the music is at least partly contemporary but the style is still quite traditional (such as certain big Baptist churches in the South).

                        It's just a mixed bag out there.
                        John
                        ----------
                        *** Please post your questions about technical service or repair matters ON THE FORUM. Do not send your questions to me or another member by private message. Information shared is for the benefit of the entire organ community, but other folks will not be helped by information we exchange in private messages!

                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                        Comment


                        • Dutchy
                          Dutchy commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Thanks for the explanation!

                      • #60
                        This thread is taking an interesting turn. Thank you, Dutchy, for your perspective on the religious scene in the Netherlands. Thanks also to you, John, for a good description of the American religious scene.

                        The fastest growing religious group right now in the United States is the “nones”–people who claim no religious affiliation. While evangelical churches escaped the decline that “mainline” Protestant churches experienced for many years, evangelicals are beginning to be affected by this trend. In a massive study released in September 2017 by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), the number of white evangelical Protestants fell from about 23 percent of the US population in 2006 to 17 percent in 2016. That is a 26 percent decline. According to a report issued by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2017, their membership has declined for the 10th straight year and baptisms dropped to the lowest level in 70 years.

                        Clearly these trends have an impact on the use of organs in churches. Like the old Bob Dylan song says, "The Times They Are A-Changin.'"
                        Bill

                        My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

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                        • Admin
                          Admin commented
                          Editing a comment
                          And the biggest drop off is people under 50.
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