Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Music in the Mountains

Today and the first sixteen days of August, the hills are alive with the sounds of music: the Endless Mountain Music Festival brings artists from many places to our corner of the world to play incredible music. Not only do the musicians come from all over - I am privileged to host a horn player from South Carolina in my extra bedroom for this several weeks - but I am learning that the festival draws music lovers from many places. I plan to soak up as much of this as I can; maybe memories of beautiful music will get me through cold winter mornings.

The importance of music is never more real than in church. Three weeks ago, our organist resigned - with no notice - to play at her home church. I understand her leaving and wish her and the home church the best. All the same, I could not help but be panic-stricken. Doing church without a musician is next to impossible. Seems people come to church to experience community and music. Our community is growing and reaching more people. Our music has needed attention. But without any music, can community be a strong enough draw to help us continue to grow? I don't think so.

This is the second time that I have lost a musician without notice. The first was in Denver on a Sunday when the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve coincided. Advent music in the morning, Christmas music in the evening. And no musician. He never came back. I learned then that CD music simply won't do. We struggled, singing without music, for several months until the day David Brussel, horn player for the Colorado Symphony, came to us. With his arrival, the congregation realized how blessed we were to experience this awesome musician.

Now, with no music for Sunday mornings, I put a "Musician Needed" sign up in front of the church with one member's phone number to call. She had three musicians express interest and screened them for me. I have spoken with all three. One man and I decided our theology was way too different for us to even try to work together. That leaves two, both of whom came to church on Sunday morning to check us out. I had expected to meet them both this afternoon, but the piano player with a suspended driver's license, asked if he could play while he was still there. He had walked several miles, in the rain, to get to church. So I listened to him play. Wow! The other, guitar player, auditions today at 5:30. I saw him looking through our hymnal - determining that he could play our music.

One pianist; one guitarist. Broad musical potential. I am greedy and want both, but don't know how we would pay two musicians each week. Whomever comes to our church, I think we are at a tipping point - the point where the excellence of music will help attract the spiritual but not religious - the seekers - this church is intended to draw.

God is always in charge of this church. However, each Monday, I take the day off and let God take total charge (as opposed my "helping" ). I have felt that we are at that crucial tipping point and I think God's total responsibility yesterday will bring the right blend of music to our congregation and spur new growth. I am excited for the future of this church.

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