Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Five: We Who Sing Pray Twice

Mary Beth at RevGalBlogPals writes: "Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: "He who sings prays twice." A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn't say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn't fit well onto a t-shirt. So we'll stick with what we have.

"Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it." And let's talk about the role music plays in your life and worship. (quote on singing from The Green Children Foundation blog)"

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?)
Absolutely. I sing lustily and with good courage, and wish more people would. And believe me, I'm not someone you would pay to hear sing.

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience.
I think my first worship memory is learning "Jesus Loves Me" at the Bowdoinham Baptist Church's Vacation Bible School. Then singing from the Armed Forces Hymnal at the Hainerberg Protestant Chapel in Wiesbaden; "Blessed Assurance" and "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" are a couple that stay in mind from that time. The little Sunday school in the firehouse in Milford, Connecticut, had a choir for a time and I was in it! I got a ride to rehearsals from the divinity student in his three-wheeled Messerschmitt car, and we learned Fauré's "The Palms", quite ambitious for a bunch of 10-year-olds. When we moved to Fairfield and I started going to First Congregational there, a professional organist and choir director enhanced worship and I learned a lot of new hymns. In college, thinking hard about Judaism, I learned to appreciate Jewish cantorial music. Later, back in the fold at First Church, Waseca, MN, our wonderful choir director Penny Peters gave us a wide variety of music -- Bach to Bernstein to what I can only describe as cowboy music. It was then I became an occasional "choir widow." I've enjoyed hanging around with choir people ever since, aided by Onkel Hankie Pants and our two daughters. Music continues to be an important part of worship for me.

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?
Well, as I said, I can't imagine worship without it. I have met a few of those people and I don't "get" them at all. Even Quaker Cousin goes to a "programmed" meeting where they sing!

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!
I love traditional music of all kinds -- Bach and the old hymns, but also "roots music" -- black and white gospel and even those sawdust trail hymns my father used to sing bits of. "Contemporary Christian" and praise music -- not so much. But I've heard examples of both that were good. And I like Taizé and some of the newer hymns that have shown up in the hymnals I collect. Also "foreign" hymns add a lot to our worship, such as "You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore" and "Toda la Tierra."

5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points!
Trying to come up with one I haven't shared before, I thought of this one. There's little or no information about the singing group and I'm not even sure where they are, though a tag "sda" suggests they may belong to a Seventh-Day Adventist church somewhere. I listened to several others, some with lovely photos of lighthouses, but this is the one that dampened my eyes. After a long absence from Friday Fives, I need all the bonus points I can get!


altar ego said...

You've got a rich heritage of music in your history. Me, I went from zero to 60 when I shifted from Quaker to Episcopalian! I try to make up for lost time by singing as much as possible.

Mompriest said...

You have some amazing choral experience! Glad to have you back in the mix....

RevDrKate said...

By my lights you get to pick as many bonus points as you want for that video. WOW! Made me cry. Liked the rest of your play, too.:)

Jan said...

I really love "You come down to the Lake Shore." That's singing in me right now.

Sandy said...

Lovely! Thank you so much for sharing! Happy Friday!

Mary Beth said...

this song is new to me, thank you!
love to think of you singing lustily and with good courage!

SingingOwl said...

I've heard that song before, a loooong time ago! Nice to see you playing!

Faith Hope Cherrytea ~ said...

i too enjoy worship selections when in other countries - just home from a stay in scotland where they sang very different songs, even treated to a beauty in gaelic!
such a rich gift of God whatever our personal take ...
thx for posting !