Leadership Program for Musicians.Cancelled

[From Hillary Raining]

[Updated Sept. 7, from Canon Mark Laubach, St. Stephen's, Wilkes-Barre] I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who worked to prepare LPM (the Leadership Program for Musicians Serving Small Congregations Leading to the Presiding Bishop's Diploma in Church Music ... say that three times quickly!) for the Diocese of Bethlehem, most especially Mother Hillary Raining, whose incredible enthusiasm, organization, and devotion to this project was (and still is) an inspiration to me.  Considering all the hard work Hillary and others put into this effort, I am deeply disappointed by the lack of response.  Thanks also, of course, to Bishop Paul for his vision, commitment, and leadership in bringing us together to try and make LPM a reality in the Diocese of Bethlehem and for the benefit of other denominational institutions in this region of Pennsylvania.  This was a golden opportunity missed, IMHO.

How often I am asked by parish leaders to advise them about how to find a competent musician or assist an incumbent musician in need of training or continuing education!  These are the situations that are tailor-made for LPM!  Considering the need for training of church musicians, it would seem, here in our diocese, that the harvest is surely plentiful.  But we also have an abundance of gifted laborers to tend to that harvest.  It's hard to put a dollar value on the chance to study with the likes of Bishop Paul Marshall, Father Ed Erb, Mother Hillary Raining, the Rev'd Canon Cliff Carr, Canon Russell Jackson, and Stephen Williams (the gifted musician at St. John's Lutheran in Allentown) ... and oh, yeah ... I suppose that would include that guy in Wilkes-Barre, what's his name? 

I do hope that we can make LPM happen at some point in the life of this vibrant Diocese.  I have thought often how a strong LPM program here could do wonders for the parishes of our diocese.  We in the Episcopal Church have so much to offer church seekers in the rich heritage of our liturgy and music.  These are vital tools for evangelism at a time when churches are desperate and competitive for new members.  And contrary to what many may think, many of the seekers out there are looking for things of substance and quality.  Verse 9 of Psalm 96 reads, "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness."  We also need to acknowledge how important it is to worship the Lord in "the holiness of beauty".  LPM affirms and celebrates that beauty and how important it is for us in our corporate worship.  My hope and prayer is that we WILL give this another try in a year or so, and that the response will be better.  Please talk it up in your parishes, among your clergy and lay leaders, and with your parish musician(s)!

Updated, Sept. 6: Cancelled due to lack of participation.

Update, Sept. 5: Registration ends tomorrow [Tuesday, Sept. 6]. If we do not have enough people registered we will have to cancel this program.

The Diocese is launching its new series: The Leadership Program for Musicians (LPM) this fall. I am attaching a .pdf of the brochure below. It contains all the information you will need to take part in this exciting new endeavor. However, I would also like to highlight the dates and the locations from that brochure here to help in your upcoming yearly programming. You will find that list below. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.  I can be reached at:  610-867-4741 ext. 303; email: [email protected]

All Classes will be held on Saturdays at 9:00am-3:00pm.

Morning Session:
Liturgy and Music
Leadership of Congregational Song: Organ Track

Afternoon Session:
Philosophy of Church Music
Resources for an Effective Music Program

Course Schedule
9/10/11-St. Stephen’s, Wilkes-Barre
9/24/11-Christ Church, Reading
10/1/11- St. Peter’s, Hazleton
10/15/11-St. Alban’s, Sinking Spring
10/29/11- The Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
11/5/11- Trinity, Bethlehem
11/19/11- St. John’s, Ashland
1/7/12- Christ Church, Towanda
1/28/12- TBA
2/4/12- St. Mark’s, Moscow
Final- 2/25/12- St. Stephen’s, Wilkes-Barre
Make-up- 3/10/12- St. Stephen’s, Wilkes-Barre

Here are just a few of the many benefits one can have by participating in this program:
-A renewed and increased sense of vocation and calling.
-Greater knowledge of the ever-growing resources and options for church music.
-Deepening appreciation for the liturgy and music’s major role in it.
-A dedicated and supportive peer group including ecumenical students and teachers.
-A top rate faculty who have taught at the University level.
-Classes which are designed to work around busy schedules and will highlight some of the most treasured instruments in the Diocese.
-A continuing education experience which is very reasonably priced and nationally recognized.
-A renewal opportunity for your parish.

Download 110817 LPM Brochure

Diocesan Life for September 2011

Download the September issue of Diocesan Life as a .pdf
Download September2011_DiocesanLife_SMALL (3.3 MB file)

The Reluctant Organist

Resting in Our Music
The Reluctant Organist 4 (January 2009)
By Father Ed Erb

As a young musician, I had a compatriot on the other end of town.  We were “Anglo-c
Catholic;” “They” were “Evangelical.”  I was a former Lutheran, he was a dyed in the wool - heck, he wasn’t even dyed, he was the wool -- Episcopalian.  I was the Prince of Fast and he was the King of Stateliness.  And I’ve matured.  I think.
In Cesar Franck’s Piece Heroique there is at the very end a full measure of rest. The youngster in me just couldn’t fathom a whole written measure of silence. What is Cesar, my hero, thinking? So I would rush through the silence to get to the important stuff -- the next chords with the pounding bass. Then years later, I played the piece on an historic instrument in a reverberant room where the previous chord rolled and blossomed around the sacred space -- for seconds on end! All of a sudden the importance of those rests made sense. God’s beauty needs time to develop and grow, even in the progression of our harmonies.
We are coming into a period of rest -- after driving pages of musical activity. And while we take those moments -- days, weeks - of rest, we know that it is a fertile period when God’s grace will blossom within the silence. Good composers know the importance of rests. They write them into their music, whether like Vaughan Williams who thinks as an orchestral composer and carries the chord into the next beat, or Bach whose measurements end in vocal precision, those rests in the score are important. Don’t rush through them. Allow the music to blossom even if your room seems to be dead acoustically. That may be all the more reason to let the silence be just that. Silence. For growth, for meditation, for the music to work.
[One clear practical attachment for the organist is to allow space between the stanzas of hymns. We see four beats at the last measure. But it really takes a choir and congregation extra time between stanzas to let the music and poetry breathe. The standard suggestion is to allow a full extra measure, holding the last chord a bit, then giving a clear silence for breath -- all in the regular rhythm of the metre.]

The Rev. Edward K. Erb, [email protected], the Rev. Hillary Raining, [email protected], and Canon Mark Laubach [email protected] are members of the committee working on the Leadership Program for Musicians for the Diocese of Bethlehem.

Continue reading "The Reluctant Organist" »