What I'm Working On This Summer

I’ve been a little quiet over here lately, but it’s not for lack of things to say or write about! 

The end of the school/church year is always busy (am I right?!), and this year was no exception (read more about what I've been up to lately below).

I’ve also been hard at work on a few big projects and am right in the middle of planning ahead for some exciting things for the fall.

Today, instead of keeping you all in suspense, I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes look at exactly what I’m working on this summer.

Enjoy!

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How to Teach A New Hymn or Song to Your Congregation

You just found the perfect song to sing next month. It has a nice melody and the text ties in perfectly with the Scripture reading of the day and the sermon topic.

But, it's unfamiliar to the congregation.

And your congregation is particularly resistant to singing anything new, especially something not in the hymnal.

What's a music director to do?

How do you go about introducing a new hymn or song to your congregation? How do you teach it in a way that's meaningful and memorable (so they'll remember it next time you sing it)?

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12 Easy Anthems for Your Summer Choir

Summer is almost here! Time for watermelon and slow evenings on the patio, travel adventures and long, early morning walks, a slower pace and simpler Sunday morning services (we hope!).

For many of us, summer means a break from choir rehearsals; but that doesn’t mean they can’t sing during the summer months!

Spend your last rehearsal of the year prepping a few easy anthems to do throughout the summer, then meet for 30 minutes before each service to review parts and get warmed up. Do a pick-up choir once or twice a month, or put together an ensemble one week.

This is a great way to keep people connected during the summer months and a wonderful way for new people from your congregation to see what choir is like without making a year-long commitment.

Related post: The Case for the Summer Choir

I usually try to stick with anthems that are easy and accessible - not too challenging melodically or rhythmically and without a lot of divisi. You may even look at unison/2-part or SAB anthems. If you have a few capable singers that are available to sing one Sunday, pull an SSA or TTB piece and put together a ladies’ or mens’ trio. The possibilities are endless!

Looking for a few suggestions? Here are 12 of my favorite anthems for summer (in no particular order):

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Our Music Sunday Service

Earlier this year, I wrote a post on planning a music-themed service with liturgy, music, hymns, anthems, and other worship planning resources. (Read it here, in case you missed it.)

This past weekend, we had a Music Sunday at our church and I thought I'd share a copy of our service for those of you looking to do something similar in the future.

We decided to use the basic pattern of worship as an overarching structure: Gathering, Praise & Thanksgiving, Proclamation & Response, Sending Forth. Within each section, we pieced together hymns, music by all our ensembles, and short readings that helped tie everything together.

I tried to find something creative to add to each of the hymns: a modulation up a half step, a harmonization for the last verse, a 4-bar interlude before the last verse, a trumpet fanfare before the introduction, etc.

Overall, it was a great day in worship, and it was so fun to see (and hear) everyone come together in worship and song!

Here is a detailed outline of our service:

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