Bella Vista Community Church\

 

Music Notes
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5/1/18

This month, I would like to talk a bit about our principal choir....Now wait a minute, I am not going to ask you to join the choir (yet), but rather to think in other ways about...choir.

I am planning on borrowing a bit from amagzine article written by Eric Wall, an assisatant professor of sacred music and dean of the chapel at Austin Presyterian Theological Seminary. wow...much more impressive than music teacher for Bentonville Schools...

He notes," " Sometimes we inherit or perpetuate a mindset that sees music in the church as a “music program” of a hierarchical nature, in which choirs seem to have priority of place. This is sometimes suggested, even if unintentionally, by church websites. A “worship” or “music” link will all too often bring up a music page that only talks about choirs (often adult choirs first) and makes no mention of hymns or congregational music. It suggests a priority on music that is rehearsed and performed by a few people, rather than on music that is claimed and sung by all.

The congregation, of course, is the chief choir. The role of other choirs is to support the congregation’s song. This is because worship is an act of the community, and the central music is that of the people. It is like prayer in worship. Some prayers are spoken by pastors and others by the congregation, but all of them are understood to be congregational. In the church choir in which I currently sing, the director begins every Sunday morning warm-up, without fail, by taking the choir through the hymns first. This is a powerful message: It reminds the choir that its first priority is not its own music, but the congregation’s music. Congregations need to know this; choirs need to know it also."

What a great idea and one which, I had not thought of. How many of us have thought about the congregation as choir? I have written before about the power of congregational singing and the amazing deepth of feeling that congregational singing provides...Have you considered yourself to be a part of this choir?

How many times have you come into church and read through the hymns so that you might sing them with understanding and meaning?

Maybe you have sung a hymn so many times, you don't even stop to consider the lyric, the meaning, the depth of emotion...

How many times have you truly sung your best for God's praise and glory?

I have heard all the excuses ( I tell my school kids that excuses are like noses...everyone has one and they smell!), what would your excuse to God be?

Doesn't God deserve the very best we have...I don't recall reading in the bible anywhere that God only wants the best singers...just YOUR best and God will be pleased with that.

Now, let's all rethink the way we just robotically go through the hymns and make an effort to remember that the hymns are praises to God and not just a time filler during a worship service...

Next time we will talk about our choir!

Mike

 

3/1/18

Thank you so much!

I was truly surprised and humbled by the mention of my 20 anniversary with the church last week!

I doesn't seem possible that I have been here 20 years already...seems like I just got here. I know that staying in a music position in the same church for that long isn't the norm...but, this isn't just a church job...this is my church and my family and I am grateful feel blessed everyday I am a part of this family. Working with Jeff, Anna and Cody has been a great joy...they are so very appreciative of the music in our church...I value their trust more than I can say. Your emails and cards have been a welcome reminder that you also are a part of my family and I so appreciate your support and I want you to know that I am gearing up and ready for the next 20 years (or so).

Now about my health....some of you heard that I have lost some sight in both my eyes. I certainly appreciate the prayers and the concern, but, I want to explain. About 10 years ago, I lost the field of vision in the bottom of my right eye (pretty much anything below half of my eye I can't see). At the time, I went to a specialist in Sprindfield and was told my optic nerve was swollen and my sight may or may not come back...it hasn't. I found out that this is a common thing that happens to tons of people. Last November, I noticed the same thing was happening in the left eye (used to call that my 'good' eye). Yesterday, Natalie and I drove to Oklahoma City to see another eye specialist ( kind of gettting tired of this). I was told that most people only get one of these optic nerve strokes (not like a regular stroke at all). Some of us are special and get two of them although, they are usually in the same eye. A rare bunch of us get the second one in the other eye (I guess I am an over achiever). I have been assured that the odds of me having another one are very slim, but, there are a few things I can do. SO...

I am going to follow his advice. I want you to know, it will take more to get rid of me than this...as long as I can wave my arm, hear Diane or Schumann and see the choir...I am good to go!

I always warn my kids at the beginning of the school year that Mr. Walkup can't see them if they come up close beside me and I might just run right over them...guess I should tell you the same thing!

Seriously, Natalie and I are not overly concerned...you shouldn't be either...but, I am very humbled that you are...and prayers are ALWAYS a welcome thing!

 

 

 

1/11/18

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve. I have to say it has been some time since I welcomed in a new year as I am usually sound asleep by midnight!

The past couple of Sundays, we have asked the congregation to sing with the choir on a few new songs and introits and you have done a great job...

One of the choir members mentioned that some of his friends remarked how great it was to sing out and what a positive feeling it was to have all the voices singing together...I AGREE!!!!

Now, the question becomes, what can we do to get that great feeling every Sunday????

Hmmm....if only there was some way to get to sing every Sunday and share the joy and energy that you experienced...if only our church offered everyone a way to 'make a joyful noise unto the Lord!'...hmm, I wonder what that would look like...

Oh, wait, I know...COME SING IN THE SANCTUARY CHOIR...

I know, I always harp about getting you to sing with us, but, we could really use your help. Do you realize that for a couple of Sundays, we only had 3 sopranos in the choir?!?!?! We really need more singers if we are going to maintain the choir we all love. I am asking for you to prayerfully consider trying to be a part of the choir. If you don't like it, don't worry about it...at least you tried...If you travel (good for you), we will be glad to have you sing with us when you get back...Want to sit and experience our worship service with your family, good, we leave after we sing and you can sit with your family...Don't like the anthem we sang last week, no worries, we will sing a different one next week that you might like...can't sing ( I don't believe it), so what, if you don't practice, how do you expect to get any better...

I know we are all wanting our church to grow and the choir (and bells) is no different. If we don't take care of the things that are important, one day, there may be nothing left to tend to...

The Sanctuary Bells rehearse on Wednesdays from 5:00 - 6:00 and the Sanctuary Choir practices on Wednesdays from 6:30 - 7:30.

Give us a try, you might surprise yourself!

 

11/4/17

Natalie and I just returned home from my mom's funeral service in Olathe, Kansas.

I would like to thank all of you that sent cards, calls and emails of condolence and support. They were a wonderful source of support for us. When my mom was able to visit us, she always remarked how friendly everyone was at church...always a word of welcome and a smile...and many of you didn't know she was my mom, you were simply being you. She always appreciated that. A few years ago, she had breast cancer and on one of our trips to visit her, she was showing off her new prayer shawl that came in the mail. She was stunned that people that didn't know her were praying for her and were thoughtful enough to care about her...

She loved that shawl and often remarked to friends about the loving people of 'her son's church'. 

As for the choir, she loved playing our CDs and always remarked how amazing you sounded...

Your love and kindness towards my mom were not isolated examples of the separate ministries of our church, but, rather a reflection of your walk with Jesus. I thought you might like to know how much your kind and thoughtful acts touched another person and her son.

I love you all,

Mike

 

 

10/8/17

We just had our annual Music Department Party at Simple Pleasures. This event is to celebrate the year's worth of dedication that the bell and choir members have given to our church.

Again, everyone had a great time!

I hate to brag, but, I am the reigning 3 time Cheater's Croquet Tournament Champion. The game is played just like it sounds...lots of cheating and laughing!

Of course, the food was excellent!

Now on to something that is an important need in our church....

WE NEED MORE WOMEN IN THE CHOIR (not that I won't take more men as well). If you have noticed, we are really short on the female side of the choir. Please consider that the choir is the place for you. You don't need to be the best singer in the world, you just need to want to have fun with fun people and share your gift with our congregation. I have a robe that will fit!

Come and give us a try...you won't be sorry!

 

 

So...Back to school for another year!

Oh well, not too many more years to go until I can retire with Natalie and we can start to enjoy the good life. Hey, wait a minute, I have a pretty good life right now...why wait to enjoy it!

Sometimes, I need to stop a minute and take stock of where I am and what I have been blessed with. Natalie and I moved here because it is a beautiful location ( not trying to knock Kansas, but, you know...). There hasn't been a day go by that I don't marvel in the beauty of where I am lucky enough to live. We started looking at other places to move when we retire and quickly decided that we already live where we want to vacation...why move anywhere else?

We have the very best church job I ever had. The life of a church musician is ususally a pretty transient one. I have been lucky enough to be your Director of Music for almost 20 years and the reason I have stayed is because we found a church and a congregation that we love. In the time I have been here, I have had to say goodbye to old friends and welcome new ones, you all watched my daughter grow up in the choir every Sunday (she has been lucky to have all the extra grand parents) and now you have welcomed her husband, we have survived great times and sad times in the life of our church (I don't think God ever said any of this would be easy or without struggle), you watched my hair lose color and fall out, but, here we are.

I am deeply humbled by all you have done for me and my family. I don't even have the words to tell you how much this church and YOU mean to us... to say thank you is simply not good enough.

Be a Lighthouse, Not a Courthouse!

Mike

 

 


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9:30 AM – Traditional Worship
11:00 AM – Contemporary Worship

 

   

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Address:   75 E. Lancashire Blvd.
                   Bella Vista, AR 72714
                   479-855-1126


       
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