Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Going Paperless, Chapter 3

I'm feeling like Wednesdays are the days that I post about the previous Sunday's experience. Maybe I need that much time to process and think, maybe cool down, maybe that's just when I get around to it. Oh well, it's not that important; it's getting posted, and I already have a Chapter 3.5 to post maybe tomorrow or Saturday. Probably not Friday, though. All that was completely arbitrary. It's a short post, but it'll get written when it does. Nothing's ever boring on our Sunday paperless adventures; there's always something!

This week was our third week with paperless music, and I think we had a breakthrough. :) My music stuff got all switched on Saturday and Sunday as I more carefully considered what I wanted us to sing. We came in to "Return, Return to God" (see video below). It went well, and we added an extra phrase, but it worked. It was a very good starting point. It's slow, contemplative, Lenten. Colin and I are very much wanting to not take as many options as we can to make this a kid-friendly service. We want it to be accessible, but we want it to be a full service and a formational experience for the children, and hopefully an experience that seminarians can learn from about leading worship that involves children. As such, we're trying to restore the song of praise after the opening sentence (Collect for Purity being optional). This week we were going to do an English Kyrie that I was essentially going to make up. But it got skipped. It happens.

We were going to sing "Come Light of Lights" as our Gospel acclamation, but I decided to shorten it to just the second phrase. I will keep doing that, I think, even though it was a little rocky. Despite the rockiness, the singing was stronger in general this week. I think three weeks in people are starting to understand a little better or trusting themselves a little more. That our presider sang strongly was very helpful. The sermon was outstanding and I think everyone got something out of it regardless of age. I don't remember us doing the Creed....but we did say the confession, which we've added for Lent. The prayers of the people were good and were bidden. Need to make a mental note about them. During the peace I moved again, which I think works well. There was a slight miscommunication between me and the presider (I didn't hear an offertory sentence), but singing "What We Need Is Here went well. We sang it as we gathered around the table and until we were ready to start giving thanks together, making eucharist.

At someone's suggestion from last week, I stood directly across from the presider, which worked well. We've continued Mark Miller's Sanctus et Benedictus, which is going well. The hosannahs are a little confusing because of the third one the second time through, but it is what it is. During the distribution we had our breakthrough! We were singing, "Whoever Eats this Bread," and we sang and sang and sang. We had strong voices singing, and we were close together and could hear each other. When I received I made eye contact with someone across the table who was comfortable singing and they kept the song going. Then I took it into the round and someone followed me. I think there were just two of us singing the round, but I think that made the first part sing more strongly. On the way out we sang "Jesus Is With Us, Let Us Bless the Lord." Just one part, maybe I'll add harmony myself as Lent progresses.

And this week I had a very formative experience, which I'm realizing Sunday night planning very much is. It's preparation for being in parish ministry. I received some feedback from someone who's attended about the way we're doing music and about variety of musicians. I've heard it and made note, and am going to talk about it with the rest of the team, but I think for now we've made the decision to use paperless music for consistency, which is a key goal of our time planning Sunday nights. I don't want to be the only one leading the songs, but we do want to have a consistent manner of music, if not always the same "style" as it were. (Read: "Guide My Feet" will be used by the end of the year; it'll be paperless, but gospel.)

Next week, all the music is the same. Might toy with some harmony that is pre-written, or might just keep making it up. Going to try to get someone to cantor verses for "Return, Return to God," so that I can drone during petitions to demonstrate droning. I'd love to move to more singing during the Great Thanksgiving so we can drone, but these are pipe dreams. Master singing first, then droning.

Make a good Lent. Return to God.

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