Monday, December 20, 2010

Applause for Church Music? " Agnus Dei "--Mixed Response

At our first performance there was no applause --not even at the end --until the Pastor gave permission. So at the second performance, we had applause after every song --even when it would have been best not to.

So what's an audience to do??

Here's my rule of thumb: If kids perform a number with their little hands raised, it's cute, you're charmed and amused so clap. You feel like it, so do it!!! If angels dance and end their routine with upraised arms and a big finale of voice and orchestra, CLAP! If it's a triumphant finale, CLAP!

But when it's very quiet and worshipful --and awe-inspiring in a quiet way, and clearly transitioning on to another song, don't.

There were places in Michael W. Smith's Agnus Dei that clearly called for applause --and places where it did not. The audience wasn't sure what to do, so did nothing the first night and felt instructed to clap for everything on the second.

Well, it's no biggy in the world's dilemmas --to clap or not to clap.

Just don't clap in church because you think the performers need it --they don't. Clap when it's a big build-up, high-note, loud, triumphant grand finale-type ending! It CALLS for applause as a response. If it's quiet and reverent --and the theme is worship --and you feel moved inwardly, quietly --maybe applause isn't the response. Whatever, DON'T applaud just because you think performers want it or need it --but if it seems awkward to not applaud --like at the end of a program with a big high-note fortissimo ending --CLAP --even in church!

Videoworks did a professional taping for our church cantata on Sunday night--it is absolutely a beautiful video --and we singers will enjoy seeing how everything looked to the audience--much better than from the platform. And how things sounded for just an ordinary church choir in a small church. It was beautiful --the overhead pics very effective.

We fulfilled Rick Warren's 5 purposes in doing this musical: We showed our love for God and His Son and what He did for us in conquoring the grave. We worshipped. 2. We shared a holiday treat/inspirational event with other Christians --loving the Body of Christ. 3. We were called upon to imitate Christ in sacrificing (just time) and forgiving each other (the irritations of getting along in every group, even the church) --and the 5th purpose: Evangelism: the Mission of passing forward the Gospel of Christ's coming --The Story of the Savior's birth --and the angels, shepherds and wisemen --and the angel's visit to Joseph. We filled the 4th purpose of our lives if any poor and unsaved came to the concert --such that we could be seen as "serving the world." We took an offering for our church boarding school in Kentucky, which often serves needy students.

What fine acting by those who played Peter, Luke, Isaiah, and Matthew. The children were adorable. The soloists were excellent, the Nativity represented the ancient story again --teaching the children --making our Christmas holiday significant and meaningful --celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. Sue Conklin once again decorated church and people beautifully, professionally. Stephanie Hulbert and Christine Rohrs were sticklers in the directing, getting us to sing "properly" and with fine dynamic contrast --something we haven't always been good at in years past. Brent Simmons did a great job controlling sound balance.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

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