Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When did it become illegal to expect a lot out of people? When did it become even more illegal to expect a lot out of yourself? I'm asking because I'd really like to know.

I'm having a hard time at the church. Recently, I started choir rehearsals again for the Fall semester. And, in that time I've been told that I'm way too hard on the choir. That I expect way too much out of people. And that I'm no fun.

I've been told all of these things before, but I have reserved myself to the opinion that I have a passion. I believe in choral music. I believe that it creates community. I believe that it can be spiritual as well as fun. I believe that singing in a choir requires discipline and focused effort.

I try making this clear, but it doesn't seem to stick. I was asked very recently why I had to give the choir a handbook. In the handbook, I outline a very, VERY loose attendance plan. Basically, if you miss 8 rehearsals/performances, you'll be asked to leave the choir. Is this unreasonable? Out of the 16 rehearsals for the fall, I don't think that's asking too much. In fact, I would say, if you have missed 8 rehearsals, you should probably rethink where your commitment lies.

I don't have a problem with people having commitments elsewhere. I understand that there's family. There's soccer and piano lessons and archery and just plain "not wanting to go to church on a Wednesday." I understand these things. But is it too much to ask people to be accountable for these commitments? Apparently, it is.

When did it become easy to not commit or simple to not be accountable? When did that happen? I push myself to be the best musician I can be. Why? Because I believe that there should be a future for church choral music. How many of you can name one...just one religious piece of choral music that wasn't written in the 20th or 21st Centuries? Okay, that's easy. How many of you can name 10?

And now, how many of you can name a single piece of classical choral music written in the 20th or 21st Centuries? Probably a lot fewer of you. Pop music and rock music have given way to really bad Christian rock and pop. Or my personal favorite, Christian rap. Will this music last? I can only hope it doesn't.

I don't believe in contemporary religious music. I don't think there is much worth in it. The Christian rock period is already coming to a close. A period filled with big praise bands and thoroughly boring praise choruses.

Along with the rise of contemporary Christian pop music came the demise of the church choir. Where did it go? It was run over by the drummers and electric guitarists. So now that contemporary Christian dreck is leaving us, we are left with a huge hole where church choir used to be. Those choirs are long gone.

I believe in keeping those choirs in tact and alive. That's why I push myself. That's why I require that other people that I work with on a volunteer basis strive to be the best they can be. Not because it glorifies me. But because if we make crappy music, that is one more reason to get rid of the already dying church choir. We recruit with excellence. We don't recruit because we have the most fun or give the best parties.

I'm sorry. It's been a tough day. It makes me want to scream or yell to the point that I can't do either anymore. Where is the commitment? Why can't we strive to be excellent? Why can't people want to be a part of something bigger than they are? And why....why do I have to spell out every chance I get, and defend myself because someone is offended because I handle things in a way they wouldn't?