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  • Prelude and Postlude for "Contemporary" service

    We are doing my first "contemporary" service this Sunday. It's actually not terribly contemporary, so far as I can tell. The big difference is that all the music will feature the minister singing with a mic and her husband playing the guitar. I will be playing upright bass or piano along with three musical selections, all of which are from a UMC hymnal - that they're from the hymnal is why I hesitate to say the service is truly contemporary, although one is from the "extra" hymnals that have more pop-y stuff. The minister leading the singing with a mic, and her husband playing guitar - those are the contemporary elements, and I know the minister is hoping to get the congregation to participate more in the singing than they usually do, so it's contemporary in that regard, too, or at least an attempt to be more participatory.

    I'm currently at a loss as to what to play for prelude and postlude - I could play something folky on classical guitar - any other thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    -S-

  • #2
    Is this "Contemporary Service" being conducted at the time and place of the more usual Traditional service? If so, good luck on getting the congregation to sing. IMHO, it is very difficult to get congregations to sing with guitar accompaniment. At least you have the Hymnals, which let people see the music they are expected to sing. Too often Contemporary musicians just expect the congregation to pick up the tune by osmosis--children do that fairly well, but adults do not.

    David

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    • #3
      I've been told (because I was too young to remember) that when our church switched to a new hymnal, the local congregations set aside a part of the service every sunday to practice and learn the new hymns in the book. For that block of time the entire congregation was directed much the same way a choir would be. A new song was introduced and then practiced a few times. I think that sometimes parts (SATB) might have even been covered. Then the new song was used for services regularly or at least reviewed every week for several weeks. Each week new songs were covered and added to the list of songs that the entire congregation had been taught. That might be more helpful in getting people to sing more. I wish they would do it again in our church so we could learn some more beautiful hymns that are only obscure because we don't know them.

      I think, when the congregation is learning new songs, it is most helpful if the prelude and postlude cover the new songs (to help the new songs become more familiar). After the songs are familiar, prelude and postlude can branch out to other music or variations and arrangements of the new songs.
      Sam
      Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
      Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

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      • #4
        I read the headline of the post and immediately thought about Rosalie Bonighton's "liturgical jazz" pieces for organ, but then realised that you're not looking for organ music.

        Guitar would work nicely, I think. Maybe there's someone who can play the flute or recorder and you could to a duet?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Steve Freides View Post
          I'm currently at a loss as to what to play for prelude and postlude - I could play something folky on classical guitar - any other thoughts?
          Suggestions:
          • Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone
          • The Wonderful Cross
          • or something of that ilk.

          The pieces I listed combine traditional hymns with contemporary music that (arguably) has some taste.

          Hope this helps.

          Michael

          P.S. You could always revert to some of the folk songs from the '70s (i.e. Wayfaring Stranger, Pass It On, etc.):embarrassed:
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
            Is this "Contemporary Service" being conducted at the time and place of the more usual Traditional service? If so, good luck on getting the congregation to sing. IMHO, it is very difficult to get congregations to sing with guitar accompaniment. At least you have the Hymnals, which let people see the music they are expected to sing. Too often Contemporary musicians just expect the congregation to pick up the tune by osmosis--children do that fairly well, but adults do not.
            Yes, in the regular sanctuary. The guitar will be amplified, and I'll be playing along on either piano or upright bass. All the tunes are regular hymns, just the format is different - pastor leading with a hand-held mic, and the different accompaniment.

            -S-

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by davidecasteel View Post
              Is this "Contemporary Service" being conducted at the time and place of the more usual Traditional service? If so, good luck on getting the congregation to sing. IMHO, it is very difficult to get congregations to sing with guitar accompaniment. At least you have the Hymnals, which let people see the music they are expected to sing. Too often Contemporary musicians just expect the congregation to pick up the tune by osmosis--children do that fairly well, but adults do not.

              David
              Well, you are right of course, but that is a completely different wrinkle and probably one that is expected by the Pastor since he has probably done this before. I am shocked at how few Americans can carry a tune anymore and can even sing the traditional hymnody. Even fewer can actually read music and make use of the music that is in the hymnbooks. Just about every church these days has a projection system and when they project the hymns its only the 'lyrics' even the traditional hymns. For people that are musical (and we mostly all were) it is not necessary to "learn" a hymn over weeks. They were written to be easy to pick up (for someone musical) at first hearing. I smile when my choir or congregation tell me that such and such hymn needs to be 'learned'. After years they still don't know it? It's because it is "contemporary" and they are uncomfortable with hymns and music with that label.

              As to Steve's specific issue the answer is a keyboard collection of arrangements of Contemporary Christian Worship Music. They are available at all difficulty levels and usually have 10 or more selections. Between the UMH itself and the two supplements: The Faith We Sing and Worship and Praise (or is it Song?) can be found many, many songs for prelude and postlude choices but I personally dislike using the hymnals for that purpose unless I am prepared to merely use the hymnal as an outline for improvisation. If I have a creative enough arrangement I will often use the exact same song as one that will be done as a congregational song. If not, I'll use completely different music not hymntune based as my prelude. Anything commonly called "New Age Music" works here. Postludes I usually do on the organ no matter what. But with the additional instrumentation handy something could be worked up on future Sunday's if this turns out to be a regular thing.

              Comment


              • #8
                The service was yesterday and was a success in everyone's opinion - not perfect, but a worthwhile experiment. Here's more detail than perhaps everyone is interested in ... Lots of music yesterday.

                We have communion on the first Sunday of every month, which yesterday was, and almost since I started 3 years ago, I have been bringing a classical guitar and improvising quiet music. So my list of things to take to the service was now up to: an amplifier, one suitable for bass as well as guitar; a small mixer; a microphone and cord; classical guitar; all the necessary wires to connect and power everything.

                Prelude: I've played a D-major classical guitar transcription of the prelude from Bach first cello suite for long enough that I know it by memory. I don't think's any individual transcription any more except my own, but regardless of that, I played it, and thought it worked nicely as a prelude. It wasn't exactly contemporary music, but it wasn't the organ.

                We then did three songs in a row. One of the high-school young women in the congregation has a good voice, sings with an a cappella group and other choruses at her school, and shared the song leading with the pastor. Good that I brought in an extra mic so that they each had one. The songs were chosen by the pastor.

                Song #1 was, "Come, Now Is the Time to Worship" from one of the two additional 'hymnals' @Leistrum mentioned. We had a little arrangement of it - the minister's husband accompanied on an acoustic guitar for the first part, then I joined on piano and picked up the tempo, and we finished it that way. Song #2 was "This Little Light of Mine" - there is a version in the regular UMC hymnal, but it's not the tune everyone seems to know, so we tracked down music to that and did it instead. I chose to play upright bass for this one, along with the pastor's husband on guitar. Song #3 was "Jesus Loves Me" - back to the piano, added a slightly bouncy, quasi-country feel to this one.

                Offertory/Choir: "Draw the Circle Wide" - again from one of those additional hymnals. This is a piece I recommended because the previous pastor liked it as a hymn, I like the sentiment of the words, and since it had been done in past years, the congregation knew it at least a little. Shortened it - the arrangement they have is long, and we just sang it in unison.

                Doxology: UMC #95, used the organ.

                Communion: Instead of my usual improv, another classical guitar piece, this one a recent setting of a Scottish folk song. It's actually more of a love song, but I didn't think anyone knew the words, and if they did, I didn't think they'd mind too much. My favorite vocal recording is by Kate Rusby, 2 links (because I love this song, and her performances, so much): Record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3B2mntKAZo and live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFgAJ4cDKQY The guitar arrangement I played, here performed by the composer/arranger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOL2MwNDF2c

                I saved the guitar improv for a silent prayer section of the service that the pastor added.

                Postlude - back to the organ, a chorale prelude from Flor Peeter's Little Organ Book: Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr by F. W. Zachow (1663-1712), 3-part arrangement for manuals only. I honestly had just run out of time and brain to think of something else, and this is a fall-back piece for me.

                Notes:

                The minister's husband's guitar was acoustic/electric, and during our rehearsal earlier in the week, the battery was dying, I could tell. I suggested he replacement it, which he did not, and he therefore played amplified during the pre-service rehearsal and unampified during the actual service. Always change the battery at the first signs of less than 100% performance, and always carry a spare. They're usually 9-volt.

                A choir member whose opinions I trust told me we should have reordered the three songs in the beginning so that I didn't have to get up from the piano to pick up my bass for the middle song, then move back again. She was right, and it would have been better to have the bass song be last or first.

                I asked our choir director to come early to the rehearsal - that was a good idea, and she was helpful not only about things like balance but had good suggestions for the minister and our young second song leader, simple things like being sure the say the words clearly, that very much helped.

                It was good that I've been around the block enough to own all the instruments and gear I needed and knew how to operate them. I was musician, equipment supplier, sound tech, roadie, arranger, and conductor yesterday. And I took a well-deserved nap when I got home from church.

                If anyone would like to recommend a collection of Contemporary Christian Worship keyboard/organ arrangements, I'm all ears for a specific suggestion or two and will see what I can work up for next time.

                -S-

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Steve Freides View Post
                  It was good that I've been around the block enough to own all the instruments and gear I needed and knew how to operate them. I was musician, equipment supplier, sound tech, roadie, arranger, and conductor yesterday. And I took a well-deserved nap when I got home from church.
                  And so it begins--and never ends! You are gradually being sucked in, but it sounds like you enjoy the extra duties, though.

                  I wondered why our pastor really wanted me to come to the business meeting on Saturday evening (after being away 3 months). Turns out he's accepted a full-time ministry position during the week, and may occasionally be away weekends. Guess who they want to preach while he's gone?!!!=-O I should have known better than to take 4 weeks while he was gone.:-(

                  I hope this is the beginning of a new chapter for you in church work, rather than a l-o-n-g down the road to being used and abused by yet another church. Be careful--it can happen.

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Steve Freides View Post
                    If anyone would like to recommend a collection of Contemporary Christian Worship keyboard/organ arrangements, I'm all ears for a specific suggestion or two and will see what I can work up for next time.
                    I have a very limited piano library which is ironic because the piano is what seems to really excite the paying customers. I am going to mention a couple of outstanding collections I own. They aren't cheap but I haven't regretted the investment one bit. I 'might' and offer as a suggestion, investigate the option of having the church open a subscription to one or more of Lorenz's bi-monthly piano anthologies. I already have loads of Lorenz organ music and Lorenz's stable of arrangers and composers have a knack for making average musicians sound amazing and make amazing musicians sound AMAZING.

                    The Essential Church Pianist ed. Jane Holstein - possibly the one and only collection a church pianist needs. Moderate to advanced in difficulty. Several contemporary titles but even the 'traditional' tunes are arranged in a contemporary fashion and I would not feel that any are out of place as offerings in a 'Praise and Worship' service.

                    I have two Charity Book Putnam collections:"Hallelujah, What a Savior" I and II. She (I assume she) has others. Very contemporary, even the trad. tunes. Not easy. I know you are not a keyboardist of long experience but I only know what I know. Someone must be doing this kind of thing for classical or fingerstyle guitar? That's what I'd be all over were I you. As for organ, I never try to play 'contemporary' music on it. I have an arrangement of "On Eagle's Wings" in an organ collection of inspirational type music but that is a rare exception.

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                    • #11
                      Please confirm:

                      https://smile.amazon.com/Essential-C.../dp/B007MW7FLQ

                      The above is $70.

                      https://smile.amazon.com/Hallelujah-.../dp/B005OKKZRY

                      https://smile.amazon.com/Hallelujah-.../dp/B005OKKWY0

                      Once I get them, I'll let you know how my piano skills do with them. I keep getting better, and maybe I'm not so bad, after all, by now.

                      And I'm perfectly able to look at piano music and play a version of it on the guitar, usually through a combination of chord symbols and the piano part, but I can manage w/o the chord symbols in most cases, too.

                      Thanks.

                      -S-

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Steve Freides View Post
                        That's them. The link I am supplying for the first book has a much better price, and you get a listing of the contents which I always find useful: The Essential Collection. The other two titles are probably also available there. Myself did not buy these online, Portland Music still has sheet music at their main store. From time to time I visit and browse through the Sacred Music Collection. When I lived in NYC I would go to Patleson's or Carl Fischer. Don't know if they are still there. But now I buy most things from Sheet Music Plus. Choral stuff from J.W. Pepper.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for the other link, will try.

                          Patelson's closed maybe 10 years ago.

                          I used to buy more from Sheet Music Plus but, for some things, Prime is just so easy.

                          -S-

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                          • #14
                            http://koertsmusic.com/free-music/ne...vd/#more-31388

                            https://greghowlett.com/

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