Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘church musician’

What Do You Know About Your Hymnal?

With the New Year, why not take time to look really carefully at the amazing book we use every Sunday in worship – the hymnal. Did you know at the bottom of each hymn page is a wealth of information about each hymn? Why you can discover who wrote the text and when that writer lived and died; who composed the tune or melody of the hymn and when that composer lived and died; what the name of the tune is; what the poetic meter of the text is; and even how quickly the hymn should be played.

For example, let’s look at the most well-loved Epiphany hymn, known by the first line of its text, We Three Kings of Orient Are. Checking the bottom of the page we discover the words were written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. who lived between 1820 and 1891. As it happens Mr. Hopkins also composed the melody (music) to this favorite text. Listed to the right of the word Music is Three Kings of Orient. Every composer names his/her tune and this is the title Mr. Hopkins gave to his now-famous tune/melody. To the far right of the page are a rather strange set of numbers – in this case 88.446 with Refrain. These numbers refer to the poetic meter of the text, i.e. 8 syllables in the first phrase, 8 in the second, 4 in the third and etc. The notation directly above these numbers tell a musician about how quickly this hymn should be played.

With all this information, hymns can take on new personalities and “come alive.”  Take time to learn a bit about the hymns so carefully chosen for your worship. You’ll be amazed at what you will discover.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church and concert organist



Top Ten Ways to Help Birth the Creative Leader in You

Excerpts from David Jordan’s Top Ten article.

1.  CREATE the MIPs and the future music program for your church.  

You can create a formidable community of not only music supporters, but participants who understand and back what you are striving to accomplish in your music ministry –MIPs who will enhance your worship and uplift your people.  Start with the youngest and provide music opportunities for all ages.  The church has been and will still be around for a long time. Let’s make sure great music is a part of it!

2. Stage a Hymn-a-thon Fundraising Event

Ou Hymn-a-thon consisted of 12 hours of singing – the time it took to sing every hymn in our hymnal.  People in the church who were not in the choir, but were MIPs, joined us by donating money, asking for pledges, bringing food, counting money, and encouraging, and supporting our efforts and our fundraising goal.  Those MIPs got behind what we were doing and felt great about their participation.

3.  HOST a Concert with a Cause

These are concerts that could consist of any combination of musicians and are presented to raise funds for a cause outside your own choir room – Habitat for Humanity, hurricane relief, homeless shelters, food banks, etc. The way this works is to bring in a concert artist and have a patron or patrons sponsor them. Then you and your MIPs host the concert and charge, okay, ask for a donation for “x” cause. People then feel like they are helping in a broader community sense and have also become involved in your music ministry with the possibility of becoming future MIPs as well.

4. COLLABORATE with other musical organizations

The work and financial responsibility as well as the excitement of hosting a major event is shared with a wider group of MIPs in the community.

5.  INVITE local university or high school choirs to present a concert and/or participate in worship Every group of MIPs includes someone who went to college and quite often they are proud and supportive of that school. What about bringing that school’s choir or band to your church for a concert and/or participation in your worship service?

6.  PROVIDE scholarships for organ study or voice lessons

If we make it known that our musicians want to study and need the financial resources to do so, wouldn’t it be a wonderful way to include more MIPs in our ministry?

7.  SPONSOR an anthem contest for university composition students

Why not involve your MIPs in planning, implementing, and funding an anthem contest where the winning anthem would be sung by your choir?

8.  SHARE your space

Wouldn’t it benefit your music ministry and increase your MIP base in the community if you were to share your music room with the local AGO chapter, MTNA group or Community Arts Organization?

9.  SUPPORT other events in your community 

Being a visible part of the music and art world outside your sanctuary or choir room will bring MIPs to your ministry.  Mutual support – always important

10.  INTERACT with the community

Let the community know who you are and what you do
Do you describe the contributions of your MIPs on social  media? Do you contribute to your church newsletter?  Is the music page of your church website up-to-date?  Have you written an article or presented a radio interview to let the community know about the MIPs of your church?

ASK and make your needs known

let’s see, how does that one go?

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain

Hmm… it should work for what we do.    

Sometimes a person or organization either within the church or in the community only needs to be asked, and in fact may be waiting to be asked, to participate – to become an MIP in your music ministry!  

David Jordan, media specialist and Dr. Jeannine Jordan, concert organist are the creators and presenters of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

Death of a Church Musician…Birth of the Creative Leader

Excerpted from an article by David Jordan published in the January 2015 Pro-Motion Music Newsletter.

Let’s face it, for years we have kind of had our way in how we created “church music.” Now, looking in our rear view mirror, we see that many of the tried and true ways of that past are not working as well. Hmm… The choir is disappearing, many of the new hymns are singable, but just not very musical. And a lot of people don’t seem too bothered by it. Hmm…

Does this forebode an era where people are no longer interested in church music? “Heavens” no! In fact, their interest may still be quite strong. But everything around us seems to be changing. Well, Dave, what are we supposed to do, learn how to use “Rock” to get people interested?

First of all let’s calm down and use the term MIP.

MIPs are the new VIPs of church music.

MIP stands for Musically Interested Person. Not necessarily trained, not necessarily someone who has been involved for 30 years, but some who might have some experience, and really does like “church music.”

MIPs really do want to help, really do like music, and want to worship God and help other people do the same. These are people who are willing to follow someone who has some expertise, of course, but more importantly who cares about each one of the MIPs. They need to feel welcomed – not like they are auditioning for American Idol.

How do you lead people interested in music into the future together? How do you lead them into thinking about doing things differently? How do you make it

easy for them to participate and become part of the music community in your church? You’re still the leader, that hasn’t changed, but maybe there are some things that could make your leadership easier and more effective.

We still want to maintain

  • Excellent, beautifully performed music that helps draw people closer to God
  • A place for more people to sing, play, or just support what you do
  • A community that builds each other and the church.

What if in choosing music for worship, you chose music your choir could do beautifully and elegantly rather than difficult “standards” that aren’t done well, and well, “don’t sound so great.”

What if we redefined a few things and realized that Musically Interested People:

· Really do want to participate but not painfully so

· Really do want to help but not as an avocation

· Really do want to do well, but not take the joy out of music

What if instead of a 3 hour evening rehearsal which most people don’t have the time or interest to do, the choir rehearses/really focuses on Sunday morning for an hour to prepare an anthem and lead the service really well?  Most MIPs will really appreciate this rehearsal plan and be willing to attend (instead of having to make another excuse about missing Thursday night rehearsal).  What if we got to the point that this was our new reality and we could lead and build from there?

Let’s look for ideas that could help all of us build a community of VIP MIPs into a vital part of the church and music program. A fellowship, if you will, of like-minded intentional Musically Interested People who want to serve in some way, and not only feel good about it but have a pride in the fact that they did something really well? Are you excited? I know I am just thinking about it.

David Jordan, media specialist and his wife, concert organist Dr. Jeannine Jordan are the creators and performers of two multi-media organ concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

The Power of One Plus

One person with one idea can change the direction of a project for a community or an organization.  In our travels we have had the privilege to meet many people who with an idea and a passion have used the Power of One Plus to accomplish marvelous things.

  • A standing-room only crowd for a Bach and Sons concert in Corvallis, Oregon because one person decided her community should know about and experience this unique event.  She enlisted the help of one other person and together they were not afraid to do the myriad of work to ensure a successful event.
  • The Bach Wedding Church preserved for future generations because one person realized if something was not done to protect this landmark it would forever be gone.  Rosemarie Frey spear-headed the project which eventually not only  involved the entire community of Dornheim, Germany but inspired other municipalities in the area to also do something to preserve their churches.
  • A woman’s shelter received several thousand dollars because one person decided a Bach and Sons concert would be a benefit concert for the charity.  She enlisted the help of a small but mighty chapter of six music educators who embraced the idea and made sure the community benefited not only with funds for the shelter but great music as well.
  • A burgeoning small church music program is unfolding in a small coastal church because one person had a dream for excellent music in worship and was not afraid to ask others to support her vision.  The congregation of this church now has a wonderful organ, a grand piano, choir robes, folders, music and best of all a music program led by two keyboard musicians who study weekly to enhance their skills, and an enthusiastic choir.
  • The new Presbyterian Hymnals proudly gracing the pews of a small rural church just a month after publication because one person wanted the best in hymnody for their church.  That woman plus others from the church attended workshops and within weeks raised the money to provide the hymnals.
  • A small but growing church in Nevada not only has a new organ but also new seating for the entire sanctuary because one person saw a need and quietly and quickly raised the funds to provide the best for worship in his church.
  • A woman in a small parish church with the threat of losing their music program entirely due to severe budget cuts, decided that if the Episcopal Cathedral in a nearby city could raise funds through a Hymn-a-thon, so could her parish.  The result of her enthusiasm was the church choir singing through the entire Episcopal Hymnal in one day and raising the funds necessary to not only keep but grow their music program.

Will you be the person who exemplifies the POWER OF ONE PLUS  in your community, organization or church?

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church musician, educator, and concert organist.

The St. Bede Hymn-A-Thon Fund-Raiser

Enter the Hymn-A-Thon – the singing of ALL the hymns in your hymnal in one day

·   FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTLY YOU REALLY HAVE TO WANT TO DO THIS AND BELIEVE THAT IT IS IMPORTANT.    You have to believe that it is important to have great worship music, in our case, the music of our strong Episcopal tradition.  Only then will things will start to fall into place.

·   It’s like crowdfunding in a way.  Each person in your little choir or church knows a number of people around the country or even the world that they can ask for donations

·   Not everyone you know will want to participate but there are many that will be glad to help in some small or large way

·   Think about it, if everyone you know on your email list would donate the cost of going out for a large fast food meal or a small fine dining appetizer, you would be able to push forward and bless the church with great music and without apology.

What happened at St. Bede was that in three short weeks the musicians got behind the Hymn-A-Thon idea and helped friends and relatives understand the importance of the music ministry in our church. Many people supported us even if they weren’t part of our local church. People from around the country, in fact, became patrons and generously pushed our St. Bede Music Ministry forward into the future.

Because of time and space we won’t go into the whole process here, however we would invite you to contact us for some suggestions and direction if you are interested.  The blessings you will receive from singing hymn after glorious hymn (720 in our case) will amaze and astound you.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Minister of Music St. Bede Episcopal Church, Forest Grove, Oregon – jeannine@promotionmusic.org
and David Jordan, choir member and accompanist, St. Bede Episcopal Church – david@promotionmusic.org

Sing Praises, Sing Praises

“Praising God in song is the only earthly activity in which we will continue to engage after our time on earth is done. So we really ought to learn how to do it right.” 
Erik Routley

There is nothing like robust, exuberant, Spirit-filled hymn singing to bring tears of joy to this organist.  Yesterday, the congregation of the small church I serve lifted their voices in glorious praise as they joyfully sang “All Creatures of Our God and King;” years ago I had the thrill of accompanying 400 men as they opened a Christmas service singing “Joy to the World;” at a revival meeting I counted verses as I played while the congregation lustily sang “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” in Korean; in Columbo, Sri Lanka I joined the congregation enthusiastically singing, “Majesty;” after hearing an incredible organ introduction, the congregation and I sang “Lobet den Herrn” acapella in German with the Stadtkirche congregation in Bielefeld, Germany.

I grew up singing and playing hymns.  “How Great Thou Art,” “Are Ye Able,” and “For All the Saints,” were family favorites.  Spirit-filled family hymn singing on Sunday afternoons in the Zielke household was not uncommon.  Playing hymns is the most treasured and pleasing part of my church work and something I cherish sharing with each congregation I serve.

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.”
Psalm 47:6-7

The Church Musician’s Toolbox

The Church Musician’s ToolboxAnchor


Your own copy of your congregation’s hymnal to mark in pedaling, registration, and improvisation ideas.

Other denominational hymnals to use as an additional music  resource


Liturgical planning resource guide

  Call to Worship published by the Presbyterian Church USA

Includes worship planning aids for every Sunday and holy day  in the church year. You’ll find prayers of confession, calls to worship, suggestions for hymns, psalms, global music, praise and worship songs, choral anthems, organ selections and handbell music. Tied to the  Revised Common Lectionary.


The People’s Psalter by Hal Hopson published by MorningStar.  An accessible collection of responsorial psalms for use                 throughout the church year.


The translation used by your congregation

Online resource – www.Biblegateway.com

Biblical commentary

Online resource – www.biblegateway.com/resources  /commentaries/



Hymn Introductions/Harmonizations/Improvisation Ideas  

“The Creative Use of the…Piano, Organ, Instruments, Choirs, Handbells…in Worship” series by Hal Hopson

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