The Church Music Institute of Dallas, Texas sponsored a day-long workshop for musicians and pastors in the Pacific Northwest in mid-August. CMI, while dedicated to the practice, advancement and stewardship of the best of liturgical and sacred music for worshipping Christian congregations, is also about sharing the joy and power of music.
CMI summarizes their work in three ways. They encourage church leaders to be mindful of the past, to strengthen a their commitment to the present and to prepare for the future. It was my privilege to not only serve as the organ clinician but to revel in this day of joyous music making and music sharing. Organists, choir directors, and pastors began and ended the day in rousing worship and song. Interspersed throughout the day were those opportunities to not only hear new music but to share ideas and the joy of music with colleagues from around the country.
As the organ clinician, I presented one session on organ repertoire for the church year. It was not difficult to the follow the CMI guideline to be “mindful of the past” in this workshop. There is a wealth of wonderful organ repertoire from the past four centuries which can enhance today’s worship. For example, chorale preludes by Buxtehude, Bach, Telemann, Scheidt, Brahms, and Pepping can be found for any liturgical season and for an organist of any skill level.
Some of the best of liturgical and sacred music for worshipping Christian congregations was composed centuries ago. Being “mindful of the past” in choosing organ music for worship is a concept that should be eagerly embraced and explored by every church organist.