One of my earliest memories of loving music on the chancel is the Children’s Christmas program at the church where I grew up. I was Mary in the Christmas program, and my role was to sing “Away in the Manger” while wrapped in a blue cotton shawl rocking a baby doll. I was five years old. As the parent leaders set me up on the chancel to rehearse with a doll and a wooden manger filled with straw, I sang the first verse of “Away in the Manger” with all of my heart. The parent smiled at me and nodded, and then looked down at her clipboard to figure out who was next. I wasn’t done yet though. I didn’t leave the chancel. When she looked up at me, she was surprised to see that I was still standing up there. I said to her confidently, “Do you want me to sing the second verse too?” She was stunned. “Do you KNOW the second verse?” She asked. “Yes” I said. “Well, OK then. Let’s hear it.” And so I sang the second verse as well. She smiled even more broadly. –My Christmas program debut that year was a completely cute success.
Over the years my voice has changed from that early 5 year old soprano to a deep alto in High School. My range is pretty wide, and I can sing most men’s tenor parts. I do a very good imitation of my father singing “O Holy Night”, except that I strain on the low notes, and he would strain on the high ones.
I admit to taking years of piano lessons, although my lack of practicing has left my sight reading skills at an embarrassing low level. I can however work at them still; and I can remember enough chords to play songs out of a fake book. Back at my best, I wrote some songs on the piano; but I haven’t had the time to mess with doing that in years.
I also have a flute in the closet from High School. That should probably stay there, though.
My taste in music is wide ranging. I enjoy classical, blues, 80’s Rock and roll, Enya, Gregorian Chant some classic Jazz, a bit of rap, pop and hip-hop. Most anything that is done well with good harmony and syncopation will get a thumbs up vote from me. I enjoy many different types of music in worship. Some of the great old hymns along with some of the more modern creations all have their place and time in the worship of a well rounded congregation. I enjoy everything from choirs to organ to piano to guitars and drums and string quartets.
I view music as a type of language. While styles of music can be as varied as human language dialects, all, when done well with all of your heart, can be a gift for the worship of God.