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Ordinary Time 2017

27 August 2006
change - major

Some of you are expecting a major change to this website tomorrow, 28 August. (I made reference to this in "yo -wow", published after I returned from Anglo-Catholic military camp.) Prior to that change, a few remarks are in order.

I see Sinden.org as an outlet (or maybe an outgrowth?) of my personal self, not my professional self.

However, because of the nature of my professional self -- working in the Church, working for faith communities that share my personal faith -- my personal and professional selves overlap.

I mean, seriously. What would constitute a "professional faith?" Such a concept is dishonest.

It is my personal self that I offer in my professional services, and it is my professional activity that is injected with my personality. Making music is always a personal act, but I think this is especially apparent when a musician improvises. This is, in a very real, raw sense, that person made vulnerable to an audience.

Therefore, while Sinden.org covers a wide range of subject matter, it sometimes bears record to my professional acts.

I recently have come to understand this relationship as critical. If I am honest it my professional life, I must bring my full personal self. If I am faithful on Sinden.org -- and I intend to be -- then I must record those professional experiences which bring about change in my mind, my body and my soul.

I am pursuing a career as a church musician because I believe in God.

I believe in a God who calls us to worship and serve Him.

I believe that God has called me to worship and serve as a musician. I specifically remember coming to this understanding about 14 years ago at a Presbyterian camp in Texas.

I hold to be self-evident the Anglican tenets of scripture, tradition and reason.

And it is the scripturally sound, rich tradition of Anglican church music that I find the most reasonable.

Some quick thoughts on all this:

Scripture & Understanding (or musicians and their music)

If the traditional forms Anglican church music are going to continue to flourish, we need to understand them.

This starts with the "scripture": the music. What does the text say? How does the text inform the music, and vice versa?

Who wrote the text and the music? And how do new compositions join the "canon" of sacred music?

There's such richness in the "scripture" that musicians work with. Inheritors of church music have been gifted with considerable amount of material.

Tradition & Communicating (or An English Tradition in America)

The church can be a self-centered place. A lot of churches I have been a part of have been prone to acronym proliferation. What do all those letters mean? And how would a newcomer find out?

Well, what does all this church music mean, and how would a newcomer uncover that meaning?

A responsible tradition communicates itself effectively. Is the Episcopal church communicating it's musical traditions effectively? Or is music of the Anglican church just seen as being grandiose and snobby and kind of weird? (My grandmother thinks it's a little depressing.)

And isn't this tradition needed? We live in what Stephen Carter calls a "culture of disbelief." If the disestablished church is going to be counter-cultural, don't we, in fact, need our own culture? Don't we need to march to the beat of a different, counter-cultural, Christian drummer?

And what is an Anglican (English) tradition doing in America? Is it this Englishness that makes our church music "different"? Or is there some point at which the tradition stopped being English, and started becoming American? Or both?

Tracing the development of Anglican church music helps us understand how we inherit the tradition. Looking closely at the music (scripture) helps us appreciate how the liturgical employment of that music (tradition) changes, and looking at liturgical changes helps us understand innovations in the music.

Reason & Reacting (or we hear, sing, pray and worship)

At the end of the day, we're left with ourselves and the music.

As much as Thomas Tallis has left us in the score, we are not Tallis.

As much as the tradition has continued to sing Tallis, and as much as other composers are indebted to him and his work, they are not Tallis, nor do they write like him.

At the end of the day, we hear the music. Even if we're singing it -- we sometimes forget this -- we are hearing the music (or at least we should be).

Music is meant to be heard, and hearing it, especially the passionate, evangelical music of the Church, should elicit a response.

This response is singing. Either literally or metaphorically. I consider an engaged listening tantamount to singing. It is, in a sense, "joining the song."

And we all know that by singing, we pray (twice!).

And by praying we practice the presence of God.

The God who draws forth song.

The God we worship.

Another change: As this site becomes more timely, I'm experimenting with being all atwitter. You can see this on the right sidebar under my picture and where it says "I'm David Sinden." Which I am. That's not changing.

Dutch tangent: Ryan is in Holland!

 
 
Comments:
Hey Sinden,
Thanks for the plug! By the way, good luck with your new non-school life. I'm sure you'll keep us up-to-date on Sinden.org(an).

Miss seeing you around, bud.

PS: I'm sure you already know this, but Holland is partly known for its history of organ making and installations. So, if you ever find yourself over here on an organ pilgrimage, you've got a place to stay (we have an extra bed).
 

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