Sunday, March 06, 2011

New Song Sunday

This morning, we lead the music at the Church of the Messiah in Toronto. They're a great church with a very open and creative attitude towards music and worship, so I knew we'd have a great time with them.

Since this is the last Sunday before Lent, we decided to sing lots of uplifting songs, like "How Great Thou Art" and "Shine Jesus Shine". In the Anglican tradition, we don't sing Alleluia during Lent, so we included lots of Alleluia songs, like Michael W. Smith's "Agnus Dei."

One of the challenges of visiting different churches is the service music. Most often, these pieces (like the Sanctus, the Psalm, etc) have been written for keyboard or organ and they don't work well on the guitar. So for today's service, Gerald and I decided to write two new pieces of service music!

I wrote an Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God") with a gentle, pretty melody. Gerald added his beautiful guitar, and I was really happy with the results. For the Gloria, we decided to create something based on the tradition of "paperless music." In this style, the leader teaches the congregation a simple, singable piece by rote. I made the text "Gloria to God in the highest and peace to His people on Earth" into a 2-line refrain with an uptempo beat. Gerald added a cool groove to keep the pulse going. I taught the refrain to the choir and congregation, and then sang the verses myself. People sang out, and it was really fun!

I think there are other churches who might have a need for songs like ours, so I've decided to register them with CCLI. It's going to take a little while before they're available to license them through their services, but I'll let you know when they're online.

We really had a great time at Messiah this morning. We're going to return for two Sundays in Lent, and we're talking with the cantor about ways we can work with the choir for those services.

Later in the day, we sang with our mega-sized band at St. John's for the Gathering service. Then, we came home and watched the 25th anniversary concert of Les Mis. All in all, a great day of music!

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