the church musician muses & links



My trio was kind enough to indulge me and sight read through the first two movements of Mendelssohn’s C minor piano trio yesterday. Later I read through several of his organ works on the organ. I seem to have this composer on my mind a lot lately.

I continue to be a bit stressed. I had a conversation with my boss yesterday about how I am strategizing to deal with an ever dwindling number of people showing up to be in the choir. My strategy is to simplify. I have been working on changing an old arrangement of “Jesus Met the Woman at the Well.” Years ago, I took Chanticleer’s arrangement and simplified it from four parts to two part men and women choir for a church choir I was working with. I thought that in my present gig it would be more satisfying to the singers if I went back and filled in the alto and tenor parts in the arrangement. After watching an increasing number of singers skip rehearsals and miss services this season, I had the idea that the original simpler version would be probably be a better choice (and far less work for me).

The problem this choir is having is that it is dwindling in numbers. So when a few people are absent it represents a larger and larger percentage of the group that is not present. For instance this weekend I have two singers who have told me that they will not be present, a third who said he probably won’t be.  Of the regulars, this leaves about 6 singers. There are a few singers who are irregular in their attendance and they might or might not be there.  Also one or more of the 6 could not show due to one reason or another.  This is not just a performance problem. I like to choose music that takes some preparation. When people miss Sunday they also miss the post service rehearsal. Our numbers are almost too small to really think of as a choir. Oh well. It’s what I have had to deal with a lot in my “career” as a church musician.

smilie doh getting hit with a mallet

I have failed in my attempt to draw these singers into deeper commitment by scheduling interesting music for them to learn and sing ( William Byrd, good gospel tunes, my own compositions). The only remaining strategy is to choose material that I can do with little preparation and shifting small numbers of singers.  I need to choose some of them today because I remain behind in planning.

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Supreme Court Rules on AT&T Case – NYTimes.com

More on recent Supreme Court rulings. I like the fact that Chief Justice Roberts talks about word meaning in his ruling and comments on the bench.

“Responding to a request for information, an individual might say, ‘that’s personal’,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “A company spokeswoman, when asked for information about the company, would not.

“In fact, we often use the word ‘personal’ to mean precisely the opposite of business-related: We speak of personal expenses and business expenses, personal life and work life, personal opinion and a company’s view.”

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Huckabee Questions Obama Birth Certificate – NYTimes.com

PolitiFact | Mike Huckabee said Barack Obama grew up in Kenya

Both of these reports scrupulously say that Huckabee was NOT questioning the place of Obama’s birth and that he retracted his incorrect comments about Obama’s Kenya childhood (Obama was raised in Hawaii, not Kenya).

A classic example of the technique described in Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by Lakoff.

As a potential 2012 presidential candidate, Huckabee can thus have it both ways. He can remind the public of these bogus charges and disavow them at the same time.

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Then there’s the recent international scandals on cheating and plagarism.

Internet Cheating Scandal Shakes Japan Universities – NYTimes.com

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg Resigns – NYTimes.com

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Finally, it looks like some of the questions raised a few years ago about instituting common sense procedures are having some effect.

Fewer Bloodstream Infections in Intensive Care, C.D.C. Says – NYTimes.com

“Bacteria like staphylococcus can be warded off with simple measures like washing hands, wearing sterile gowns and drapes, and following the proper techniques for inserting and maintaining the lines.”

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2 thoughts on “the church musician muses & links

  1. Stressed out beyond all measures. I believe that this month especially, has been a very stressful one. Happy Desserts to you. Have a cheese cake and tell me about it. I would at least enjoy hearing about the enjoyment. I have lost 45 pounds so far, and am heading further down. Can’t really think about sugar items, most of the time and I really don’t miss it. But once in a while I do read about you making some sweet thing and “whoa Nellie”, I have these incredible thoughts about tarts, cakes, pies etc. Hope you are well. Let’s try to get together for dinner next week.

  2. Yikes! Sorry my food comments inspire your lust! Heh. I’m gonna say next week is not a good one to get together. I am booked pretty solid with Ash Wed on Wednesday and playing piano for warm-ups for Dance 37 the other evenings. Hope you and Sue are well!

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