Ep. 8: The Hillsong Movement Examined, with Tanya Riches

Ep. 8: The Hillsong Movement Examined, with Tanya Riches

Try This At Church: We follow up on last week’s suggestion to play from a binder of an entire service’s music (instead of swapping out books throughout a service). Kathy suggests making copies of hymn harmonizations and organizing them alphabetically in binders, so you can see your entire collection at once instead of thumbing through many different books.

In the Field: What theological issues are at play in the great debate: do organists and choir members really need to pay attention during the sermon, especially if other people in the congregation can’t see them?

Interview: Theologian and musician Tanya Riches discusses the new book, The Hillsong Movement Examined: You Call Me Out Upon the Waters, which she co-edited with Tom Wagner. This collection of 15 essays is the first scholarly book about Hillsong Church, a Pentecostal church with roots in Sydney, Australia.

In our interview, Tanya discusses music at the church, as well as her essay in the collection, which deals with women’s leadership in the church.

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Posted by sarah.bereza in Contemporary Worship, Music and Theology, Podcast, 0 comments
Ep. 7: Social Media for Church Musicians, with David Sinden

Ep. 7: Social Media for Church Musicians, with David Sinden

Try This at Church: For trickier services, make copies of all music and play from a single binder instead of shuffling books.

Interview: Today’s interview is with David Sinden, the Organist & Director of Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and co-host of the podcast All Things Rite and Musical. Speaking of social media, you can follow David on Twitter.

Why use social media? Because it’s is a way to share your and your church’s ministry with others, especially people in your congregation.

What platforms can be useful for church musicians? A personal or church website, Twitter, Facebook, blog, and emailed newsletter. David suggests embedding a more frequently updated platform, like Twitter, in a more evergreen location like a website, allowing the website to have fresh content without frequent management.

What kinds of things to post? Upcoming events, including what music is planned for a church service. Work in progress/behind the scenes photos, recordings, and videos.

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Posted by sarah.bereza in Church Music Administration, Podcast, 0 comments
A new year, a new site (and a new job!)

A new year, a new site (and a new job!)

Happy New Year, y’all!

Have you recovered from the Christmas season yet? Don’t look now, but Ash Wednesday is in five (!) weeks. As Crawford and I said in our first podcast episode, get your Easter musicians lined up now if you haven’t already!

In the last few weeks, I made changes to the Music and the Church website—I’ve been maintaining two separate websites and decided to combine them into one, sarah-bereza.com, to reduce my workload. Musicandthechurch.com still works as a link, but redirects to the new (hopefully improved!) site.

If you’d like to keep getting Music and the Church updates, you can subscribe to posts on the new site and you can also subscribe to our Music and the Church newsletter.

The other news around here is that I’ve taken a post as the interim organist at The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Cincinnati. I anticipate moving this summer for my husband’s job, so it’s a gift that both my and Redeemer’s timing needs have synched so smoothly. (It’s also a joy to play on the beautiful pipe organs at the church!)

And on the podcast front: our Epiphany to Easter season begins tomorrow and will continue weekly until Holy Week. I can’t wait to share the episodes with you!

Posted by sarah.bereza in Church Music Administration, 0 comments

Ep. 6: Music Organization Systems

In the Field: Should you organize your music alphabetically or by acquisition number? If you keep a spreadsheet, what categories should you use? Crawford and I discuss the pros and cons of various organization systems.

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Choral Music, Church Music Administration, Instrumental Music, Podcast

Singing through the Year: Coming Full Circle

Singing through the Year has come nearly full circle, back to Advent. I wrote about experiencing the Incarnation in Advent and Christmas hymns early this January (a theme I returned to in this month’s Music and the Church newsletter), and I decided to continue posting a hymn every week. At first, these were hymns I was singing to my son, then I posted hymns I chose for services at Immanuel Presbyterian, where I have been the organist this year.

This is my last Singing through the Year post. I hope you’ve enjoyed these hymns as much as I have!

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Congregational Singing

Ep. 5: Bringing a Researcher’s Mindset to Music Ministry, with Carrie Allen Tipton, and the 4 Sundays of Advent

Try This At Church: If your church serves alcohol at functions (like a Christmas choir party!), make sure there’s something non-alcoholic that’s equally festive to drink.

In the Field: The Four Weeks of Advent—have recurring themes! Crawford and I discuss what hymns fit which each Sunday’s themes, including one that delighted my son in utero.

InterviewDr. Carrie Allen Tipton is a musicologist who hosts the podcast Notes on Bach, sponsored by the Bach Society HoustonNotes on Bach is a monthly series of interviews with scholars and musicians who work with Baroque music and issues around music like theology. Today, we discuss the benefits of bringing a researcher’s mindset to the ministry of church music.

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Church Music Administration, Congregational Singing, History of Church Music, Music and Theology, Podcast

Ep. 4: Who Listens to Contemporary Worship Music, with Mark Porter | How Your Church’s Acoustics Can Work For You


Try This at Church: Invite people to join the choir for just Christmas or Easter. They get the opportunity to sing without a long-term commitment, and you get a strengthened choir on days of the year when many regular choir members are likely to be traveling.

In the Field: The acoustics of a church building can make or break your music. Crawford and I discuss ways to embrace the space you have, change it to suit your preferences, or, you know, just throw up your hands and say, I want to do the music I want to do.

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Contemporary Worship, Music and Theology, Podcast

Ep. 3: The History of Contemporary Worship with Swee Hong Lim and Lester Ruth

Interview: Dr. Swee Hong Lim and Dr. Lester Ruth discuss their new book Lovin’ on Jesus: A Concise History of Contemporary Worship.

It’s an exploration of the origins of contemporary worship—including contemporary worship music. In our conversation, we discuss the implications their research has on church music today: What should traditional church consider if they want to add a contemporary service and will it attract young people? Can blended worship services have integrity? And how do different theologies of worship shape church services?

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Posted by Sarah Bereza in Contemporary Worship, History of Church Music, Music and Theology, Podcast
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