Christian Congregational Music: Local and Global Perspectives

4-7 August 2015 Conference

Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford, United Kingdom

Congregational music-making has long been a vital and vibrant practice within Christian communities worldwide. Even though congregational music flows along global networks, it reflects, informs, and articulates convictions and concerns that are irreducibly local. Congregational song can unify communities of faith across geographical and cultural boundaries; however, it can also be used to mark divisions between Christians of different denominations, cultural backgrounds, and social classes. We cannot truly understand the meanings, uses, and influences of congregational music within Christianity without exploringboth its local contexts and its global circulation.

To further the understanding and practice of congregational music-making, the Christian Congregational Music conference seeks to bring together world-class scholars and practitioners to explore together the varying cultural, social, and spiritual roles church music plays in the life of various Christian communities around the world. In our 2011 and 2013 conferences, we welcomed scholars from 18 countries on all 6 continents. Through a series of invited talks, roundtable discussions, paper presentations, and documentary film showings, conference participants examined the multifaceted interaction between local and global dimensions of Christian congregational music by drawing from perspectives across academic disciplines, including musicology and ethnomusicology, theology, anthropology, history, and education.

For more information, see
http://congregationalmusic.org/content/conference

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'Amazing Grace' by Victor Wooten

Victor Lemonte Wooten (born September 11, 1964) is an American bass player, composer, author, producer, and recipient of five Grammy Awards. In honor of his recent 50th birthday, here’s one of his most famous solos.

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Wooten has won the “Bass Player of the Year” award from Bass Player magazine three times in a row, and was the first person to win the award more than once. In 2011, he was named #10 in the “Top 10 Bassists of All Time” by Rolling Stone. In addition to a solo career and collaborations with various artists, Wooten has been the bassist for Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since the group’s formation in 1988.

Victor is the youngest of the five Wooten Brothers, all of whom are musicians. Regi began to teach Victor to play bass when he was two, and by the age of six, Victor was performing with his brothers in their family band, The Wooten Brothers Band.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Wooten

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I first saw his amazing solo rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ over a decade ago, on a DVD of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones. You’ll find several versions of this bass solo by Wooten on YouTube; here’s one of them followed by an interview:

and here’s a longer version, the one I first saw on the DVD with Bela Fleck:

You can buy various scores of his multiple versions at links including:
http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtdFPE.asp?ppn=MN0089740&ref=google

http://www.onlinesheetmusic.com/amazing-grace-p371831.aspx

http://sheetmusic.musicnotes.com/?do=feature&featuretype=artist&featurename=Victor+Wooten

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/amazing-grace-digital-sheet-music/19396870

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/the-best-of-victor-wooten-sheet-music/4911087

http://www.sheetmusicdirect.us/sheetmusic/song/1000007609/amazing-grace?redirect=1

Jazz from Joe Sample

Joe Sample, the Houston (Texas) native whose masterful keyboard playing made him a leading figure in the jazz fusion movement of the ’60s and ’70s and a top session musician in jazz, R&B and pop for several decades, passed away on Sept 12 (2014) at age 75.

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Sample was a graduate of Wheatley High School, where he and some classmates founded a group they called the Jazz Crusaders in the mid-’50s. They moved to Southern California in the early ’60s and became one of the most popular and respected groups in jazz thanks to albums like Freedom Sound and Looking Ahead. In the ’70s, as their sound incorporated more and more elements of funk and R&B, the group changed its name to the Crusaders. Sample also took plenty of jobs on the side, appearing on classic pop-rock albums such as Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark, Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On and Canned Heat’s Up the Country.
http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2014/09/rip_joe_sample_houston_music_i.php

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Sample is said to have played piano with an “identifiable Texas sound - gospel-tinged blues mixed with sophisticated soul.”
http://irockjazz.com/2013/02/history-resampled/

Here’s a song from his 1989 album "Spellbound" called ‘All God’s Children.’

Here’s another song from the same album, ‘Sermonized.’

Two Psalm verses at Bar Mitzvah

Shira Choir Sings New Song "Im Hashem Lo Yivneh Bayis."
Composed by Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz At Bar Mitzvah of the son of Shira Choir Leader Shraga Gold in Williamsburg, Virginia.

 מקהלת שירה מבצעת את השיר החדש ׳אם השם לא יבנה בית

The song uses two verses from Psalms. The first is from Psalm 127 - “If G-d doesn’t build the house the builders build in vain, the guardian guards in vain.” The second is Psalm 121 a very well-known verse among the Jews: “The guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers.”

מקהלת שירה מבצעת את השיר החדש ׳אם השם לא יבנה בית׳ של המלחין שלמה יהודה רכניץ בבר מצוה לבנו של שרגא גולד מנהלה הדגול של מקהלת שירה אשר התקיימה בברוקלין

Third Culture Worship - ‘You Deserve’

Vaughn Thompson Jr. is a worship leader/singer/songwriter residing in San Jose, CA where he serves as Worship pastor at Cathedral of Faith with his wife Irene Marin Thompson. He is a graduate of Lee University with a BS in Pastoral ministry and also from Fuller Theological Seminary where he received his Master’s in Theology with an emphasis on Worship in the Arts. Now Vaughn is in full time worship ministry with the release of his new worship project and the launch of Third Culture Worship ministry that was developed out of a heart to serve the body of Christ in the area of worship through leading worship, writing songs for congregational worship, biblical and theological training, seminars, speaking, resources, and conferences.

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Growing up as a child in Maryland with a Korean mother and a father of German descent, Vaughn was forced to bridge cultural gaps at home. While disliking his multi-ethnicity, and even embarrassed of it through his early years, Vaughn has not only embraced and accepted it, but he has grasped it as divine purpose and calling to lead worship with a “Third Culture” mindset. Through Third Culture Worship ministry Vaughn aspires to create music and lead worship across the globe creating an awareness of Third Culture and its spiritual implications.
https://www.facebook.com/ThirdCultureWorship/info

Here’s the first song from their 2013 album ‘Invade: Third Culture Worship, Vol. 2’ featuring acclaimed singer/drummer/percussionist Sheila E:

You Deserve
Words and Music by: Vaughn Thompson Jr.
CCLI: 6484512
Copyright Vaughn Thompson Jr. BMI ©2012

Don’t Just Stand there
Declare, the greatness, of our God
He is worthy, deserving
Of all we, can bring Him

We Don’t have to, we get to
Respond to, His Mercies
So with singing, and dancing, and shouting
We Praise Him

Come let’s worship
He deserves this

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You
Like You deserve
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh 
oh oh oh oh oh

Don’t Just Stand there
Declare, the greatness, of our God
He is worthy, deserving
Of all we, can bring Him

We Don’t have to, we get to
Respond to, His Mercies
So with singing, and dancing, and shouting
We Praise Him

Come let’s worship, 
He deserves this. 
Come let’s worship
He deserves this

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You

We will sing and shout
and make it loud
We are not ashamed to shout Your name

We will sing and shout
and make it loud
We are not ashamed to shout Your name

We will sing and shout
and make it loud
We are not ashamed to shout Your name

Jesus (Jesus) Jesus (Jesus)
We worship You, We worship You

Jesus (Jesus) Jesus (Jesus)
We worship You, We worship You

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We worship You, We worship You

Memorial 9/11 Prayers – A Resource List

Tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of the 9/11/01 attacks in the USA. Christine Sine pulls together helpful spiritual resources for the day here:

http://godspace-msa.com/2014/09/02/memorial-911-prayers-a-resource-list/

Christine is co-founder of Mustard Seed Associates with her husband Tom.
http://msainfo.us/about/meet-the-msa-team/

She describes herself as a “contemplative activist” and blogs at
http://godspace-msa.com/

She says, “I continue to adapt my own prayer for this day as I meditate on the horrors of war and terrorism, the plight of refugees and the atrocities and useless killing and maiming that result.”

God, so much violence, so much pain, so much heartache.
May our remembrances of this day instill within us a horror of war,
And help us stand against the atrocities  caused by terrorism. 
As we grieve with those who still mourn,
And share memories with those who cannot forget,
May we be stirred by your love and compassion for all.
As we remember those who bravely responded,
And gave their lives to save others,
May we draw strength from their selfless sacrifice.
As we stand with strangers who became neighbours that day,
Sharing and caring for people they did not know,
We give thanks for their generosity and hospitality.
May it remind us of the call to be good Samaritans,
Reaching out across race and culture to other victims of violence.
So many in our world have lost loved ones to terrorism and war,
So many have been displaced from homes and country, 
May their plight fill us with a longing for peace.
Let us seek for understanding and reconciling,
And not turn from your kingdom ways.
Above all God may we remember your faithfulness,
And learn to trust in your unfailing love.
Amen

This paean to those who mourn is also for those many hundreds of thousands of families who lost their friends, parents and children during the wars that followed as a direct result, where suffering increases even now.

For suggested songs, litanies and other 9/11 resources I’ve highlighted over the years, see this search of my website:
https://www.google.com/search?q=9%2F11&sitesearch=globalworship.tumblr.com&gws_rd=ssl

“The Diaspora of Minorities within White Evangelicalism”

Some continue to ask, “Why talk about race?” Most people of color don’t have the luxury of asking that question. - Natasha Sistrunk Robinson

She’s written a thought-provoking blog post titled  ”The Diaspora of Minorities within White Evangelicalism” which you can read at
http://www.missioalliance.org/the-diaspora-of-minorities-within-white-evangelicalism/

Here are two excerpts that are relevant to worship in a church service:

The missional responsibility of the church is to reflect the beauty of this diversity by ensuring a cross-cultural communication of the gospel. It is not good to say, ‘Come as you are’ and imply, ‘be like us.’ It is not good to have token minorities represented in the leadership of our nonprofits, church staffs, conferences, seminaries, and publications. Diversity within the body of Christ cannot be an afterthought. True unity is reflected when our ethnic differences are recognized, not as points of division, but as a deep and holy need to see our God more clearly and to love each other more purely.”

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As an African American leader in the evangelical church, I have a commitment to humility, education, bridge building, and peacemaking. I also have a commitment to love. These commitments have led to the theological conviction that when there is no value for an ethne of people, then our ideas of evangelism, missions, and how we “do” church, only serve as a means of self-preservation and destroying the people groups and cultures that are not dominant. I understand that I will never feel at home in this fallen world; we are all indeed displaced in this earth.

You can follow Natasha at
https://www.facebook.com/NatashaSistrunkRobinson

'Overwhelm Me' - CentricWorship

Songwriters don’t typically get together in groups of 5 to write a song, and this one didn’t start out that way. As the song began to take shape during our retreat, other writers were invited to collaborate to make the song what it is today. We prayed this day for more of God in our lives, our songs and our churches and soaked in His overwhelming presence as Riley led us with this special song.”

Featured worship leader: Riley Erin
Written by: Riley Erin, Doug Engquist, Jared Anderson, Michael Farren and Corey Voss

© 2014 Centricity Music Publishing (ASCAP), Centricity Songs/REM Publishing (BMI), Integrity Worship Music (ASCAP), CentricSongs / Farren Love & War (SESAC), CentricSongs (SESAC). CCLI #7009582

You can download the song & chart for free (only till Wednesday)
http://centricworship.com/download-5-free-worship-songs-centricworship/

After that, buy the lead sheet or chord chart at
http://www.praisecharts.com/detail/arrangement/24831

'Lent to Maundy Thursday' by Page CXVI

PAGE CXVI is a popular trio working with new arrangements of hymns. Based in Colorado, their drummer is a family friend.

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Grab - free for a short time! - the second installment of Page CXVI’s three album Calendar Project! Lent to Maundy Thursday came out in March of 2014 but has been newly re-mastered. Since the band cannot track who purchased the album in the last few months they wanted to make the updated and improved version of the record available to everyone! As a special treat the Chord Charts are attached for FREE! [Tips always appreciated]
http://noisetrade.com/PageCXVI/lent-to-maundy-thursday

And Can It Be
Before the Throne of God Above
Were You There
Fast From Feast On
This Blessed Day
Hosanna
I Love the Lord

This short video has the song This Blessed Day, plus a bunch of video in the studio.

Be sure to check out the companion albums Advent to Christmas and Good Friday to Easter on iTunes! 
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/page-cxvi/id323916871

Follow the band at
https://www.facebook.com/PageCXVI?fref=nf

Steve Bell - Psalm 90

Steve Bell (of Canada) wrote, “This morning, I sat to read for awhile, and today’s Lectionary reading for morning prayer was Psalm 90, which happens to be the text for the first song, on my first album—Comfort My People—25 years ago….

…so I thought I’d share.”

Steve also wrote, “I’m expecting to have my new album, Pilgrimage, in hand any day now. It is a celebratory project marking 25 years of solo work.” I’m really looking forward to it! And a full-length film about him will also release soon.

Learn more at
http://www.stevebell.com/

and 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Bell/17251521323?sk=timeline