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performing in churches ?

Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,andrewq 16 Oct 10 - 06:53 PM
Joe Offer 16 Oct 10 - 06:55 PM
Tootler 16 Oct 10 - 06:58 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,Russ 16 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM
Leadfingers 16 Oct 10 - 07:54 PM
olddude 16 Oct 10 - 08:01 PM
Joe Offer 16 Oct 10 - 08:14 PM
Crowhugger 16 Oct 10 - 09:24 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 16 Oct 10 - 09:38 PM
Slag 16 Oct 10 - 09:44 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 10:14 PM
wysiwyg 16 Oct 10 - 10:24 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 10:28 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 10:43 PM
open mike 16 Oct 10 - 11:00 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 11:23 PM
DebC 16 Oct 10 - 11:40 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 11:44 PM
GUEST,mg 16 Oct 10 - 11:46 PM
Deckman 16 Oct 10 - 11:54 PM
Tim Chesterton 17 Oct 10 - 12:04 AM
Joe Offer 17 Oct 10 - 12:25 AM
Deckman 17 Oct 10 - 12:28 AM
Deckman 17 Oct 10 - 12:44 AM
GUEST,mg` 17 Oct 10 - 01:02 AM
dwditty 17 Oct 10 - 02:30 AM
open mike 17 Oct 10 - 02:32 AM
Ebbie 17 Oct 10 - 02:59 AM
Tim Chesterton 17 Oct 10 - 04:59 AM
Fidjit 17 Oct 10 - 05:19 AM
Fidjit 17 Oct 10 - 05:21 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Oct 10 - 08:19 AM
squeezeboxhp 17 Oct 10 - 09:26 AM
Alan Day 17 Oct 10 - 11:45 AM
Phil Cooper 17 Oct 10 - 12:04 PM
Crowhugger 17 Oct 10 - 12:30 PM
Rabbi-Sol 17 Oct 10 - 01:42 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 17 Oct 10 - 02:25 PM
meself 17 Oct 10 - 04:11 PM
Deckman 17 Oct 10 - 05:23 PM
Janie 17 Oct 10 - 05:36 PM
Deckman 17 Oct 10 - 05:49 PM
Alan Day 17 Oct 10 - 05:55 PM
Suegorgeous 17 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM
Wesley S 17 Oct 10 - 07:48 PM
Janie 17 Oct 10 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,FloraG 18 Oct 10 - 04:43 AM
greg stephens 18 Oct 10 - 04:54 AM
Bonzo3legs 18 Oct 10 - 10:53 AM
Deckman 18 Oct 10 - 11:08 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 18 Oct 10 - 11:12 AM
Tim Chesterton 18 Oct 10 - 11:48 AM
GUEST,Phil B 18 Oct 10 - 12:30 PM
Suegorgeous 18 Oct 10 - 12:33 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 10 - 01:36 PM
meself 18 Oct 10 - 01:57 PM
Jack Campin 18 Oct 10 - 02:32 PM
Don Firth 18 Oct 10 - 03:05 PM
Tim Chesterton 18 Oct 10 - 04:55 PM
Tim Chesterton 18 Oct 10 - 05:32 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 18 Oct 10 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Oct 10 - 05:44 PM
Suegorgeous 18 Oct 10 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Oct 10 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 19 Oct 10 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM
dwditty 19 Oct 10 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,999 19 Oct 10 - 06:34 PM
Old Vermin 19 Oct 10 - 06:36 PM
Phil Edwards 19 Oct 10 - 06:38 PM
Fidjit 20 Oct 10 - 05:01 AM
Paul Davenport 20 Oct 10 - 05:37 AM
Tootler 20 Oct 10 - 06:02 AM
Fidjit 20 Oct 10 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Oct 10 - 11:53 AM
Stewart 20 Oct 10 - 12:21 PM
Stewart 20 Oct 10 - 12:41 PM
Fidjit 20 Oct 10 - 03:40 PM
Don Firth 20 Oct 10 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Oct 10 - 05:18 PM
Stewart 20 Oct 10 - 06:55 PM
Deckman 20 Oct 10 - 07:31 PM
Stewart 20 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM
dwditty 20 Oct 10 - 08:17 PM
Deckman 20 Oct 10 - 11:02 PM
Jack Blandiver 21 Oct 10 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 21 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 21 Oct 10 - 10:51 AM
meself 21 Oct 10 - 11:59 AM
Sailor Ron 21 Oct 10 - 12:12 PM
Jack Campin 21 Oct 10 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM
Deckman 21 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Oct 10 - 05:50 PM
Liz the Squeak 21 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM
dwditty 21 Oct 10 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Emjay -- lost my cookie 21 Oct 10 - 07:52 PM
Jack Campin 21 Oct 10 - 08:47 PM
Tim Chesterton 22 Oct 10 - 12:03 AM
Deckman 22 Oct 10 - 12:20 AM
Janie 22 Oct 10 - 12:47 AM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 10 - 12:49 AM
Deckman 22 Oct 10 - 01:19 AM
Jack Blandiver 22 Oct 10 - 04:52 AM
Jack Campin 22 Oct 10 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Oct 10 - 11:20 AM
Jack Campin 22 Oct 10 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,999 22 Oct 10 - 01:11 PM
Crowhugger 22 Oct 10 - 01:13 PM
Crowhugger 22 Oct 10 - 01:25 PM
Tim Chesterton 22 Oct 10 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,999 22 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 10 - 05:29 PM
Deckman 22 Oct 10 - 05:30 PM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 10 - 05:42 PM
Deckman 22 Oct 10 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 10 - 07:59 PM
Crowhugger 22 Oct 10 - 11:16 PM
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Subject: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 06:39 PM

I realize that I might be starting a discussion that will upset some folks. That's NOT my intent. I wish to pursue a SERIOUS discussion of the plusses and minuses of performing in a "church."

For your background ... I am NOT a believer in "churches." This does NOT mean that I don't have a faith. I have a faith and I follow it carefully.

I have, over the last few years, come to believe that "churches" are places that gather groups of believers of a particuliar faith/sect/denomination/cult/congregation. I have also come to recognize the downside of extreme beliefs.

It was just four years ago that I willingly shared a Seattle "church" venue for a concert with the wonderful Don Firth.

This morning I decided to NOT attend an upcomming concert of one of my most favorite folk perforems, because he has changed his venue to a "church."

In all honesty, I feel that if I enter a "church", I am giving validation to that faith/sect/denomination,cult/congregation.

Does anyone else out there agree with me? bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,andrewq
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 06:53 PM

A church is its congregation not a building. If you're not attending a service I can't see how you are giving validation to its beliefs. Church buildings were used for markets and all kinds of things in earlier days; until recently they were always multi-functional buildings. Isn't it great that they make their often fantastic acoustic available for the wider community?

Andrew


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 06:55 PM

Hi, Bob-
Sometimes, churches can use a non-religious concert to advance their religious purposes, and that makes me uncomfortable. Most times, that's not the case unless the performance is "sacred music."

I guess I do feel a level of discomfort in most church concerts, even in my own church - because I view the space as "sacred space" intended for worship (and on the other hand, I feel very comfortable at the religious services of most non-fundamentalist religious denominations). Unitarian churches and Quaker meeting houses work well for concerts, because they're usually quite devoid of religious symbolism.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 06:58 PM

I belong to a recorder group and we regularly perform in churches. Although I am not a religious person, it doesn't give me any problems.

Mostly we are performing music as part of a concert of essentially secular music but I have been involved in performing as part of a service.

While I agree with you about the problems of extreme beliefs and we are seeing the consequences of this too often in the world just now, I am happy to support people on a personal level and to respect their beliefs.

On a purely practical level, churches often have excellent acoustics and there is something magical about performing a renaissance fantasy in the type of acoustic you often get in a church, especially an old one.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 07:08 PM

Thanks for your thoughtful postings. Joe ... your response addresses another delemma ... which churches are "safe churches" to attend, and which should I avoid. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM

Deckman,

If you feel that entering a church validates it,and that troubles you, don't do it.
This seems to be a situation where letting your conscience be your guide is the best approach.
Although I feel differently, I don't see any point in trying to bring you around to my point of view.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 07:54 PM

Richmond VA has an excellent Traditional oriented Concert series in a Synagogue , well supported by the congregation , but NO religious connection at all = and its an excellent venue . No Problem for me as a Catholic to have played there .


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 08:01 PM

I am not a Baptist, yet one of my biggest fan's (his words not mine)
is a Baptist Minister ... Faith is one thing, my faith is serious, just because I don't attend someone else's church doesn't mean they can't like the music and enjoy it, they would not ask you if they did not ... people are people. But if you are uncomfortable with it then don't do it.   As far as attending someone's service. I been to a lot of beautiful services of all denominations. My one rule, start preaching on politics and not the Lord and I walk out ... that means my church also. For the most part, I never hear anything but the Lord and that makes me smile


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 08:14 PM

"Safe" churches, Bob?
Well, I've always found Unitarian and Reform/Conservative Jewish and Congregationalist (United Church of Christ) services to be delightful. Most United Methodist churches on the West Coast are nice, but not the East Coast. Most Lutheran churches, but not the Missouri Synod (although I have been to wonderful Missouri Synod churches). Episcopalian churches are usually quite nice, but some are overly formal and some are angry about the nationwide Episcopal Church accepting gays and women priests. Presbyterians are a mixed bag - many tend toward the born-again side, but some are very open and intellectually stimulating. Some Baptist churches defy the born-again stereotype and are absolutely wonderful (and have music to die for). Most Black churches are very welcoming, and have amazing music and legendarily musical sermons (the Pentecostals can be a bit much, however).

There is usually at least one Catholic church in every diocese that is the "liberal parish," and a number of others that can be quite nice - stay away from Catholic churches that have anti-abortion propaganda displayed, because it's a sure sign that anger is a dominant aspect of their agenda. Catholic Churches run by religious orders, especially Jesuits and Franciscans and Capuchins, tend to be very open - but there are some religious (dis)orders that are horribly doctrinaire. I'm a bit hesitant to invite people to my own parish, because I think of it as a "work in progress." My pastor and I have our disagreements, but I have to say that he does a wonderful job in contact with the public, especially at weddings, baptisms, and funerals. I am an Associate Member of the local province of the Sisters of Mercy, a wonderful group of Irish-born nuns - and I'm proud to invite anyone to activities at their convent. For the most part, they are brilliant women with a passion for social justice (Glenn Beck wouldn't like them). My (Cork-born) pastor had Jimmy Crowley perform at the Mercy convent a year or two ago, and it was wonderful to have great Irish music with all those earthy Irish women there.

I've never been to a Quaker meeting, but I've been to lectures and song gatherings and a Quaker music camp that are very folkie-friendly.

Orthodox Jews can be a mixed bag, too - but I've had a wonderful time associating with Orthodox Jews, and I can't get used to the female rabbis and cantors in Reform congregations.

Tootler mentioned doing recorder performances in churches. There's an annual Twelfth Night recorder performance in an old Lutheran church in Sacramento, and it's just perfect; as are the performances of a cappella Christmas music in the Catholic cathedral and the Franciscan church in Sacramento. I can't imagine them anywhere else. We have the advantage of having at least one Chanticleer concert a year. I would imagine that most of the members of Chanticleer must be gay, but somehow they have no problem finding old Catholic churches to perform in. For most of my lifetime, the Catholic Church had an unofficial "don't ask, don't tell" policy about gays, but conservative forces have lately forced the Catholic Church to tighten up on that and a number of other issues. Still, most Catholic parishes don't go out of their way to be offensive about gays and abortion and other things. If you don't make an issue of it, they won't.

I guess I wouldn't have too many qualms about attending most concerts in churches, but I've found that born-again churches have a hard time resisting the temptation to proselytize (and pass the collection plate) during performances. Most other churches are very welcoming to people who attend concerts, and they're usually very generous with cookies, coffee, and jello mold. They usually won't push their religion on you - but they do like it if you eat hearty. Don't expect gourmet coffee - I don't know why, but churches are tied to those godawful percolators. This is an important thing to know about churches - they really want you to eat, far more than they want you to believe what they believe.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 09:24 PM

I expect the likelihood of proselytizing to be lower when someone has rented the building for the event, of course depending on who that someone is.

And, sometimes 'passing the plate' isn't about supporting the church; it can also be that the performers are simply charging whatever you can afford; this I've seen mostly when the performer is a member of the church and gets to use it at little or no charge.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 09:38 PM

Mr. Deckman



Follow your instinct.



You do not KNOW the theology...



Sinerely.

Gargoyle



WHY go...into realms you do not know? More than a score have scratched critter's back a decade before.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Slag
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 09:44 PM

Interesting post Joe.

All churches have an "agenda" just as all businesses have one and all embassies have one (or two;)) as well as any other organization. Just visiting shouldn't tarnish your reputation or theirs but it is wise to learn of their agenda and any hidden agendas they may have. You are right to be concerned that some may be using your appearence or visit to promote something which you do not support. Do your homework and if there is any doubt ask and make known your intent. It is always easier to not go than to have to explain yourself at a later date.

Having said that, I think that most community churches really just want their neighbors to know that they are regular folks too. They are not eating babies or stalking former members. Mostly, they are trying to overcome the bad publicity that rains down on all when some minority outfit does such things.

At these special meetings where entertainment is provided they are all there to have a good time but don't be surprised if they have a couple of "commericals" inviting folks back. After all that is why they are there, same as a business having a special event. They want cutomers to know where they are and what they can get. That's all.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 10:14 PM

Joe ... quite a wonderful post! You must be stuck at home on Saturday night without any gigs! Actually, if you were to switch a couple of your observations around, put it in the key "G" ... it would make a really good talking blues!

I am appreciating the comments. I think some folks are getting my thrust. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 10:24 PM

I don't think it helps to try to send a message by being more isolationist and exclusive than that which one wishes to protest. It's just not an effective way to make the statement... and if it hurts an artist's bottom line by narrowing their audience and CD purchases, who is helped there?

~S~


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 10:28 PM

Your answer confuses me, and I'd REALLY like to understand your point? bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 10:43 PM

I've re-read your post several times and I think I'm getting your drift. I'm NOT avoiding this concert to protest. And I did e-mail the performer to say how dissapointed I am and why.

I think when "churches" open their doors for non religious events such as concerts, usually for a fee, they are trying to wear two hats that don't really fit well.

bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: open mike
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 11:00 PM

one event comes to mind and that is a bluegrass concert held at a ranch which is sponsored by an evangelical church. They are not at all interested in any other style of music being presented at this venue..
only musicians whose music is predominantly gospel -- no "secular" music.

On the other hand, churches often will hold concerts, especially in their social hall...not always in the sanctuary. And as was mentioned,
their facilities are often rented to presenters who have no affiliation
with their denomination. In Sweden, since churches are experiencing lower membership numbers, they often hold concerts in the main sanctuary. The places usually have good acoustics, ample seating (if not overly comfortable seats)for audience and serve as a good public meeting place or venue. There often is a good kitchen, as well, so preparing and serving food is convenient to do (to feed the multitude).


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 11:23 PM

Thanks for the post Laurel. BUT ... if I willingly walk into a church am not I giving tacit approval to that church's activities? bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: DebC
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 11:40 PM

I have performed a number of concerts in churches and it really depends on the space. I recall a time when I performed in a church and the performance space had a HUGE cross behind me.

I was very conscious of the symbol and because of that did not perform certain songs that I would have normally done. BTW-that decision was mine and mine alone, but I was still influenced by the symbol.

Debra Cowan


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 11:44 PM

But wait ... there's MORE ...

"If you wanna' get in trouble, let me tell you how to do it,
Just go to a church concert, and then you're into it,
'cause the room is big, and the seats are wood,
and the music doesn't really sound like it should ...
... kinda muffled .... tame ... and there ain't no wine!

The intermission is the time to beware,
You never know what to expect in there,
You're surrounded by bibles and tithing cards,
Everyone whispers it's no place for bards ...
... kinda quiet ... no joy ... spooky!

I'll grab my coat and hat and find the back door now! bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 11:46 PM

I don't know if you are or not but you are in line with the Catholic church of my childhood which forbad us to set foot in a Protestant church without permission from the pastor. That was for weddings and funerals basically. Don't bother asking if you can go just to attend a service. We also could not use the YMCA for similar reasons because they had religious activities there. So you would be following a long tradition of avoiding other churches for fear of spiritual contamination or something. mg


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 10 - 11:54 PM

MARY ... "SPIRTITUAL CONTAMINATION" ! Perfect ... I love it ... that's it ... I don't want to contaminate my spirit by walking in those doors. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:04 AM

I'm actually the pastor of a church (Anglican), and I have played traditional folk music in pubs in which I'm sure a lot of people get drunk (which I don't want to endorse, although I'm not by any means a teetotaller). Should I stay away from the pub because of that? Or should I be happy that the pub gives me the opportunity to play for people who otherwise wouldn't hear my music? I have played music in coffee shops in which I know the reason the owner wanted live music was so that he could sell more coffee and treats. If there wasn't a benefit to the business owner they wouldn't be hosting live music.

We rent our church out from time to time for musical events (mainly piano recitals); the acoustics are pretty good and we seat about a hundred. We charge a minimal rate and in return for that the performers don't expect us to clear all the hymn books and prayer books out of our pews. Yes, there's a cross on the wall at the front; it's kind of attached, and we couldn't remove it without doing damage to the wall! But when we rent the facility out to someone we don't do it to try to convert them (although we are trying to build good relations with the community, just as the coffee shop owners are).


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:25 AM

I used to go to a gospel sing at a 150-yr-old, wooden evangelical church in Folsom, California. Most of the people singing were folkie musicians, not religious people. It was a most perfect venue for such a gathering.

And yes, the food was good.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:28 AM

Hmmm ? I appreciate your thoughtful answer. You mention that you are a pastor of Anglican church. Do you think it's possible that there are some people in your community that couldn't bring themselves to go through your doors?

My point is simply this: Performers should consider,carefully, the social implications of performing in a "church." bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:44 AM

Joe ... As you know, I'm a participant and teacher at "Rainy Camp", in Carnation, Washington. This is an annual get-a-way for us folkies up here. The event is held at an old "Boy Scout Camp" ... which has christian implications. As such, it consists of various buildings: bunk houses, the mess hall, the main meeting hall, and the chapel.

Last year, I was sheduled to teach my "Performing Skills" workshop in the Chapel building. I went in early, started setting up the chairs, getting ready for the class, when I was informed that I couldn't teach my class in that building because ... and I quote ... "This building is a holy place and must be reserved for spiritual music."

I almost left the campground, but I moved to another building and taught the class ... fool that I was!

My point is this ... as Debra Cowen implied earlier ... being/singing/teaching/performing ... in a "church" has implications that can't be ignored.

I'm still somewhat ashamed of myself for NOT making a fuss and leaving the campground. I compromised my religion. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,mg`
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 01:02 AM

We sang all sorts of nonspiritual music in that church. I think it is actually a chapel. I think people were somewhat restrained but not overly. Why would they assign a workshop there if you were only supposed to sing spiritual songs? I have been to that camp for years and never heard that. Anyway, who would go to a workshop of Catholic songs? Well someone I suppose.

And there is wine if you know where to look in Catholic churches. Unless of course it has been transubstantiated. mg


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: dwditty
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 02:30 AM

Lots of thoughtful comments here, but I still think this is a silly thread. By all means, Deckman, if you are not comfortable walking through the doors of a church, don't. If performers want to schedule a concert in a church, that is their perogative, regardless of what you think they should or shouldn't do. (your statement: Performers should consider,carefully, the social implications of performing in a "church.")

People are certainly entitled to their own opinions, especially when those opinions have no impact on what someone else may think or do. One of the big problems we have today occurs when people have one opinion and think others should follow suit. I don't get what possible objection you could have to people gathering to hear a performance in a church while you sit at home. How have they affected you?

dw


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: open mike
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 02:32 AM

presbyterians used to have grape juice for communion...i always felt there was somthing left out,,,,after all the verse does not state "the grape juice is my blood" welshe's juice was happy about it though..


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 02:59 AM

The wintertime monthly concerts we put on are held in a Lutheran church because #1, it is just about the right size for our audiences (with overflow, about 140 people), #2, it's a good price ($100.) #3. it has great acoustics- most often we don't use a sound system; #4. the church people give us a key and we go in and set up, and return it to how we found it; #5. none of the church administrators are ever there, before, during or after.

Before we started hiring this hall, we made a donation to the Episcopalian church that one of the co-founders belonged to. We always donated at least 2/3 of what we took in, and when the church burnt down (we weren't there:) we donated our entire remaining kitty to them, about $2500.

That said, I still don'[t like having the concerts in a church. It seems to me that a good portion of a potential audience won't step foot inside a church and also I've had people ask me if it's a 'religious' concert, simply because it is a church.

But this is Juneau- and the churches are very inclusive; they make noises about 'serving the community'.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 04:59 AM

Bob - yes, by all means, I know there are some people in our community who wouldn't couldn't bring themselves to go through our doors, for all sorts of reasons.

For several years I organised a fundraising concert for Habitat for Humanity, with musicians of all faiths and none playing their music for a good cause. I have good relationships with many people in the folk music community in our city (of which, of course, I am a part), and they were happy to help out. Some didn't have a problem performing in a church, others told me that it was a psychological barrier to get across when they first arrived. To me that was part of the benefit of the event - helping people on all sides have the courage to start crossing barriers.

I understand that we have some beliefs about God and Jesus that many people in the folk music community don't share; that's fair enough (and it works the other way too!). But when I think of how we try to live out those beliefs in our church - trying to help the poor and needy, trying to be a community that welcomes strangers, learning to love our enemies and be peacemakers etc. etc. - well, I think in many ways it's very compatible with the ethos of folk music.

But I appreciate your sharing your thoughts, and would be glad to hear any ideas you might have about how we can build better bridges, while continuing to live out our respective beliefs with integrity.

Tim


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 05:19 AM

We Spellmän (Musicians) do lots of Churches here in Sweden. They even allow the Devils instruments in them (Fiddles and Melodeons) Also Folk dance groups too. And all sorts of others, Bluegrass, Opera. Etc. Etc. Can be quite lucrative too. And there's the added bonus of good acoustics. A group I play with recorded our CD in a Church.

I personally turn off when they do the religions bit, but that's me.

The audience is always appreciative and as an artist that, and the exposure is what we want.

Chas


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Fidjit
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 05:21 AM

Oh Yes.
And on one solo Gig I did Sid Kippers, "Happy Clappy Chappy"
That went down quite well.

Chas


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 08:19 AM

Saw Show of Hands in a church this week - their current tour is entirely in churches in the UK. One thing you don't need in a church is a reverb unit!!!


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: squeezeboxhp
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 09:26 AM

i have performed with a longsword team in quite a few churches and the only ptoblem is the churches with tiled floors at the front end make dancing in iron shod clogs both slippy and noisy, the accoustics make the melodeon sound great though.
i have also played ceilidh's in variouis denominations churches but the oddest was the Mormon church who prayed that the band would be good before we started (we were good despite the orange juice only rule)
so Bob the answer is if you don't feel happy with it don't do it
Ken


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 11:45 AM

Firstly I see no problems at all in playing in a Church,I can play a few hymns on my concertina and the Salvation Army used to have bands playing religious music.Surely it is how the music is received by the congregation that is the important factor.
Playing music in Church can offer problems however with sound, if it is an old church. I have heard a number of recordings recorded in church and the high ceilings create an echo, this is fantastic for slow pieces but with faster numbers the echo catches up with the music and creates a jumbled sound. Rather like playing two recordings of the same piece of music one about five seconds after the other. Some like this effect and with slow numbers it can be very moving, but is annoying to me after a short period of time.
Al


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:04 PM

If there weren't churches willing to let other organizations use their facilities, there wouldn't be a lot of folk music societies. We've played many concerts in churches of all brands for concert series, and not been preached at. I've also played for a festival that had tobacco company sponsorship. I don't encourage smoking, no one tried to make me light up, either. I also still cashed the check.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 12:30 PM

"if I willingly walk into a church am not I giving tacit approval to that church's activities?"

Your personal threshold is the one that counts in making your choices. I dislike purchasing dog food at a particular large chain, but when the manufacturer went through last year re-branding there were supply problems at smaller retailers--the manufacturer was taking care of the "best" wholesale customer first, much to the annoyance of this retail customer. But rather than risk the output that can result from sudden diet changes, I bought from the big retailer I dislike.

You'd have to tell me, did I give tacit approval to that location or chain? My personal threshold prioritized feeding the dogs with consistent food over being careful to "vote with my money." Similarly, as has been said many ways, you have to prioritize your wish to support particular performers (including or excluding their choice of venue) in relation to your views about churches and/or religious organizations. Your choice whether you do so case by case or with a blanket decision with[out] exceptions.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 01:42 PM

As an Orthodox Jew I am forbidden to enter a church for any purpose whatsoever. The first 10 years that I was eligible to vote I did not because the polling place was in the basement of a church. When the politicians finally realized how many votes they were losing from the Jewish community because of this they finally took the voting machines out of the church and put them in the local public school where they belong. Voter registration immediately tripled after this was done.

As president of the Borderline Folk Music Club, I had a clause inserted into our bylaws stating that none of our concerts or other functions can ever be held in a church even if it were given to us free of charge. I want to be able to attend all of my club's functions and out of respect to me this policy has remained in effect for the past 6 years even though the vast majority of the members are not orthodox and many not even Jewish.

This ban also extends to any church affiliated facilities such as a Catholic high school gymnasium or auditorium where crucifixes or statues of the Virgin Mary are prominently displayed. It falls under the prohibition of idolatry.

Our local hospital, Good Samaritan in Suffern, either covers up or removes the crucifixes from any rooms that are being occupied by Jewish patients. They really go out of their way to acommodate us.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 02:25 PM

I've enjoyed evensongs in cathedrals, and folk in pubs, halls, and outdoor venues. I'd nationalise the churches of England so they would not need to host secular concerts for upkeep, etc., funds.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: meself
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 04:11 PM

Bob - If I may so, you seem a little confused: on the one hand, you don't want to play in churches for fear of seeming to condone various religious outlooks; on the other hand, you are peeved about having been barred from playing in a chapel on the basis that your music would not condone the religious outlook connected with that chapel. It seems to me that the people who barred you share your take on the situation: they don't feel that music that doesn't condone their religion belongs in their chapel; your initial post would indicate that you would feel the same way. I don't understand why you feel it's okay for you to refuse to play in their sacred space, but wrong for them to refuse to let you play in their sacred space ... ?

Am I missing something (has that loose screw finally fallen out)?


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 05:23 PM

YEP ... you got it right ... it's that damned loose screw again! bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Janie
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 05:36 PM

Bob,

I think it unlikely I would ever consider entering a church any kind of endorsement of a Church, and I find it difficult to believe anyone would think so.    I echo, however, those who have already said that if you are not comfortable with it, then don't.

I'm wondering - if you were vacationing in a city with a cathedral, synagogue, mosque, buddhist temple, etc. that was noted for it's architecture, historical significance or accoustics, would you eschew touring it?


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 05:49 PM

NOPE!


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Alan Day
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 05:55 PM

I have just picked up my hat and coat and I am leaving this one.
Al


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM

I performed in a couple of churches a few weeks ago, and now I'm hooked - the acoustics were amazing, and it was a wonderful experience. I want to do more!

Does anyone know how I can find a list of churches in the UK that hold performance nights? I've tried googling, but not got very far.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Wesley S
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 07:48 PM

... if I willingly walk into a church am not I giving tacit approval to that church's activities? bob

If you take a tour of the White House are you supporting the policies of the President? The real question I would have to ask myself is where are the proceeds of the concert going? If it's in the performers and promoters pockets it's one thing. If the proceeds go toward supporting the programs and activities of the church involved that's something else alltogether. IF those activites upset you. My old church had regular concerts that supported a non-denominational food bank.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Janie
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 09:04 PM

This is a bit of thread-drift, hope you will forgive it, Bob.

Suegorgeous, 8 or so years ago when the FSGW Getaway was held at Camp Ramblewood, my sister and I skipped some Saturday morning workshops to explore the area and spend some time together. We drove a few miles to Port Deposit, MD. It is a struggling and historic village on the fall-line of the Susquehanna River. We walked up to a lovely Methodist Church where there were a few people working on the grounds, and were invited to take tour of the building by the pastor. The entire interior of the building was beautiful wood, and when he led us to the sanctuary, which features a Steere organ, we entered an accoustical dream. He told us about the John Steere organ the church hosted, and seemed delighted to have us try out the accoustics by singing a couple of lines from a couple of songs.

I ain't no musician (though Sister is), and the accoustics made me sound like a folk diva.

At that time, according to the pastor, the membership of the church numbered 90 souls, not nearly enough to keep the place going financially. I just checked the website and now the membership is down to 39. I had been curious and concerned about how the building had fared during flooding a few years ago. Apparently it did survive.

May music, be it secular or "sacred" continue to have the opportunity to resound in such spaces.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 04:43 AM

We do barn dances in our local church. Its a lovely shape and they screen off the alter. The group who turn up are a real community, like a large family. When I call a dance its interesting to note that anyone who wants to dance is included. Teenage boys will dance with teenage boys - and there is no agenda other than they want to join in.

The last time we did one there were no lights over the band area as the dramatic group had just finished a performance. This was solved by the vic going to get his mothers standard lamp.

If I was religious I could see the attraction of belonging to a group like this.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 04:54 AM

Well my partner and I just did a song at her brother's wedding. It was in a church whose bel;iefs I don't subscibe to. I imagine the vast majority of the guests come into the same category. So what? We were there to celebrate two people getting married, not to pass judgement on ther religious practises. Anybody who would refuse to sing in those circumstances(or refuse to attend for that matter) needs to have a pretty hard look at their beliefs.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 10:53 AM

"In all honesty, I feel that if I enter a "church", I am giving validation to that faith/sect/denomination,cult/congregation"

Absolute rubbish - it's about having fun.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:08 AM

The last time I had "fun" in a church, I was 14, and she was 15! (bad bad bob)


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:12 AM

"Does anyone know how I can find a list of churches in the UK that hold performance nights?"

Sue, I can't answer that question. But you often get churches in towns that hold free afternoon concerts, usually more classical stuff. But I have wondered whether any folk singers or musicians have done anything like that?


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 11:48 AM

As the pastor of a church (in Canada, not in the UK) I can say that whenever we get requests from people who want to rent our facility to hold concerts, we say 'yes' (as long as the timing doesn't conflict with our own events).

Sue, if you want to hold a concert in a particular church, just ask.

Tim


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,Phil B
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 12:30 PM

Currently on tour in churchs and cathedrals. They're just venues and every village/town/city has one.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 12:33 PM

Thanks CS and Tim. But was wondering about arranging something from afar - maybe do a little church tour? so a list of concert-friendly churches would be useful. Thought there might be such a thing somewhere.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 01:36 PM

As an Orthodox Jew I am forbidden to enter a church for any purpose whatsoever.

which, given that the Jewish Scriptures and most of their commentaries predate the existence of churches, strikes me as pretty weird. How did the prohibition start?


This ban also extends to any church affiliated facilities such as a Catholic high school gymnasium or auditorium where crucifixes or statues of the Virgin Mary are prominently displayed.

I once went on a computer training course at a centre which once been a posh Catholic school. Their machine room was the former chapel, and the plaster statues were still there looking over the mainframes. Seemed rather fitting.


It falls under the prohibition of idolatry.

It shouldn't, because you can be in the same building/city/universe as an idol without worshipping it.


You mention that you are a pastor of an Anglican church. Do you think it's possible that there are some people in your community that couldn't bring themselves to go through your doors?

The last time I encountered that one in Scotland, it was a Presbyterian art history student who couldn't bring herself to go through the door of a Pisky church to look at its architecture.


The things that give me the creeps are military shrines. I'm not going to make a point of pissing on them like the woman who made the news a few weeks ago, but as far as I'm concerned they're no less suitable objects to be pissed on than any other piece of outdoor masonry, and I am certainly not about to do anything ever which conveys any indication of public respect towards them. There are usually buskers beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Edinburgh who completely ignore the thing. Good for them.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: meself
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 01:57 PM

A "Pisky" church?


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 02:32 PM

As in e-PISC-opalian. (If "Pisky" isn't in the Mudcat Scots glossary, it ought to be).


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 03:05 PM

When Bob and I first decided to do the reunion concert in October of 2007, the original idea was that it was to be a house concert. A friend of ours offered his house as the venue (often has house concerts there), but the living room was up a flight of stairs

Now, I'm currently getting around in a wheelchair and, as Lionel Barrymore (whose wheelchair didn't slow down his movie career as a character actor) said in a line in a "Dr. Kildare" movie way back, "You will note that this chair has neither wings nor an aeroplane motor! Of course, bring the patient downstairs!" To perform in this person's living room would involve having a couple of bully-boys lug me and my chair up a flight of stairs. I've had this routine done before, and a couple of times, I've damn near been dropped! Not keen on somersaulting down a flight of stairs and having my wheelchair land on top of me (I don't bounce like I used to), I asked my wife, Barbara to check it out. She did, and vetoed it because of the configuration of the stairs.

So. Alternative venue. I had gone to a number of concerts at Central Lutheran Church (complete with easy wheelchair access). One, an early music singing group, who included a few songs from D'Urfey's "Pills to Purge Melancholy," from which Ed McCurdy got most of the songs he recorded on his "Dalliance" series. No problem. Another by a lute duet. Still others by singers and small ensembles of various kinds.

I have also attended many concerts at other churches. Without being sermonized or feeling that I was sanctioning or supporting the doctrines of the churches these concerts were held in. They were buildings, almost all with excellent acoustics, generally with no need for amplification.

I was highly impressed with the acoustics of Central Lutheran Church. High ceiling, a bit of reverb, but not excessive. The church has the characteristic of making a twelve or fifteen voice choir sound as rich and full as a much larger choir. I had long wanted to sing there.

In addition, the house concert venue would have severely limited the possible size of the audience. Central Lutheran Church is a small church compared to many, but it has a capacity of 200. And further, Barbara and I are both members of the church.

[At this point, I will not go into my religious beliefs or lack thereof, but I am impressed by the mission the church has chosen for itself. Members do not accost you on the street and try to save your soul, nor do they come and ring your doorbell. It is a liberal church, and is deeply involved in such things as free meals (no, you don't have to listen to a sermon to get a free meal) and finding low-cost housing for low income and homeless folks. And there are many other programs that the church sponsors, including Alternatives to Violence workshops in nearby prisons, and it is the national headquarters of the Lutheran Peace Fellowship. Belonging to this church allows Barbara and me to maximize our efforts along these lines.]

Another advantage of using this church was it's central location on Seattle's Capitol Hill, complete with free parking lot next door, and easy to get to by bus.

Yet another was that since Barbara and I are members, we got to use the church without charge (along with a bit of free advertising in the form of a notice of the concert in the church's monthly newsletter and a mention in that Sunday's bulletin. Some members of the congregation did come, and they paid, along with everyone else.

We also got free use of the parish house next door for a reception after the concert. Got a chance to become reacquainted with a number of old friends I hadn't seen for years.

Despite the usual church decor in the form of a cross behind the altar (where we sang) and a stained glass window depicting of Jesus (typical Renaissance image) in a gesture of blessing, I don't think our singing there resulted in anyone's conversion?with the except for one young man who said afterward that he had suddenly gaining a strong interest in traditional folk songs.

And it was only right that I slip a small gratuity to the custodian for staying over and tidying up after the concert.

But the church did not receive a single dime because of our performance that afternoon. As I said, we had the use of the church and the parish house at no cost?and no profit to the church.

To some extent, I can see where Bob's misgivings come from. As I understand it, he had some pretty unpleasant encounters early on with the more hard-charging, heavy-duty, industrial-strength Pentecostal-type religious beliefs (it's a mortal sin to have fun, like, say, going to a movie with all the other kids), so with that background, I certainly don't blame him for getting totally turned off. But then, I shouldn't try to speak for Bob. He is obviously quite capable of speaking for himself.

There ARE churches that I would not perform in because of the nature of the minister, the congregation, and the interpretation of religion promulgated there. Especially if they tried to insert a "commercial" before, during, or after my performance. However, I have never felt that by attending a concert, or for that matter, singing a concert in a church?as long as there was no interference or input from the church itself into the program?was in any way supporting the theology and activities of that particular church

It's a building, which because of it's theater-like layout, can easily be used as a concert hall. And churches generally have quite good acoustics.

Don Firth

P. S. Just an aside. While attending music classes at the Cornish School of the Arts (a sort of conservatory in Seattle) in the early 1960s, one of the profs was a church organist, and he took the class out to the large Episcopal Church where he plays for Sunday services. Bloody big pipe organ, organ pipes ranging from smaller than a penny-whistle to as big as a tree trunk. Prof. Cowell demonstrated various aspects of the organ, the bank of manuals (keyboards), pedals (deep bass notes), stops, double stops, different effects. Most impressive!

We were standing around the organ console, a forest of pipes on either side of us, when Prof. Cowell launched into Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. OY!!

Professor Cowell mentioned afterward that while playing "the music of God," and with all that brute power at his or her fingertips, all too often the organist tends to forget who is Whom!!

He also mentioned that many well-known organists tend to have impressive-sounding names. Such as E. Power Biggs!

One of the students asked, "What does the 'E' stand for?"

Came the inevitable voice from the back of the class:   "Enormous?"


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 04:55 PM

Sue:

If you are wanting to investigate Church of England churches that allow their facilities to be used for concerts, one place to start would be with the diocesan offices. The Church of England is divided into forty-four separate dioceses (the singular is 'diocese'). You can find a list of them with links to their web pages on this page. Clicking on the link for an individual diocese will lead you eventually to its web page, where you will usually find contact information for the diocesan office.

Tim


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 05:32 PM

Sorry, should have continued to say that the diocesan offices might have information about which individual churches in their diocese rent their buildings out for concerts.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 05:38 PM

I've performed in several churches including St.Martin's in the Fields, which had the Folk Club in the crypt.
I've also done a gig in Well's Cathedral cloisters.

The acoustics can be marvelous, or you can have echo problems, but they are usually designed with acoustic performance in mind.

Ethically, I want to know where the proceeds are going and I may reject a gig because of that, but if it is for the upkeep of the building then that is going to preserve my heritage, regardless of the religion involved.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 05:44 PM

Scroll down this page to see a picture of Kansas City's amazing new Performing Arts Center. Yes, I agree that it looks like a piece of pasta. However, it is a very expensive piece of pasta - $400,000,000
worth.

It is being funded privately, although the City helped with the parking structure. It has been under construction for a long time, and two men have died working on it. (I've got to wonder whether the crazy shape had something to do with their rig tipping over.)

Anyhow, we the people of Kansas City are all being asked to pay for this thing, but there is no space there for a small concert. (By small I mean less than 1000 people.) Once there was provision for such things, but as soon as the big okay was given, the small venues were dropped from the plans. The wing with the small halls has been replaced by a grassy lawn, which will of course attract hoboes.

So, when we bring a band to town, where do we put on the concert? At a church. A church has what we need; seating, restrooms, parking, and a place to play - maybe even a stage - in the front.

The church people are friendly and co-operative. But the media, the suits and the government run the gamut from uninterested to contemptuous. They don't want to hear the music of their ancestors.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 18 Oct 10 - 07:28 PM

Many thanks, Tim, that's very helpful.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:56 AM

Oops, I said 'Scroll down this page..." but the URL isn't there. Here it is:

http://www.kauffmancenter.org/TheBuilding/default.aspx

Now you can see what's cutting edge in Cowtown.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 04:28 PM

I've only just now agreed to fiddle for a joint birthday party for our vicar and her Methodist Minister colleague. Come on anybody -why shouldn't I? (You'll no doubt tell me anyway!)


Chris


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM

It's an excellent idea. Go for it.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: dwditty
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:15 PM

hmmmm, Chris. This is indeed a slippery slope - does recognition of a birthday support creationism or evolution? One must be extra diligent in such matters...

All kidding aside, fiddle away and have a great time!

dw


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:34 PM

I went to a Bill Staines concert (about three months back) which took place in a church (United) because the day before the concert the hall he was scheduled for became unavailable. Hadn't seen Bill in over 35 years, so I walked over and said, "Hi, Father Staines." He laughed and a few minutes later he began to sing. The acoustics were great--as was Bill. I liked the church setting because the sound was darned good. Sitting in a church doesn't make ya religious any more than standing in a garage makes ya a mechanic, fwiw. Bill wasn't pushing any agendas, and many folks who went were from other churches or atheists. We weren't there for Jesus--just so see and hear Mr Staines. A building is a building. Again, fwiw.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Old Vermin
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:36 PM

Sang in a choir gig in a local Anglican church the other day, mostly backing singer and her band but some of our own songs first. Acoustics were really superb. Could sing into our own sound coming back at us in harmony. As for we basses getting our own voices echoed from the back wall after we'd stopped, it sounded pretty impressive.

Replying to the original poster, some of the choir are less than keen on churches as such - that said, at least one such took part. My impression is that most of us are sensibly relaxed one way or the other - just no point in agonising in either direction.

I can appreciate that one might possibly be a little less relaxed about it were it a more fundamentalist church or in a context where people observed keenly who went where.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 06:38 PM

Never really had these reservations. When I was in my teens, & even more insecure about my singing voice than I am now, I used to yearn to perform in our local church, by way of joining the 'folk' group that played there every week. It was an Anglican church with a fairly sizeable congregation, so the group regularly got a couple of numbers in while Communion was being administered, and maybe a third while the Lord's table was being cleared afterwards. But I never admitted to anyone that I could sing, and they never asked, so it was not to be.

In retrospect I think it was probably a lucky escape; their material wasn't terribly inspiring, and at times it was downright inappropriate. One week they did John Denver's "Goodbye Again": very pretty, but not really suited for the middle of a church service.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:01 AM

Stortfolk had until recently their Folk club in a Church in Bishop's Stortford.

Colchester folk club is in a Church.

Mike Absolem had a folk club in a Church too in London Ooooh So many years ago. (early sixties) I'm sure there are others.

Chas


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:37 AM

At Bromyard F F this year, Liz and I were asked to sing in the parish church. Liz had more misgivings than I but we sent off a list of appropriate songs and were asked to perform, 'Down in Yon Valley' (American version of the Corpus Christi Carol) and Judas (Child 23). The latter again worried Liz since it excuses Judas and berates St. Peter. (We were in St Peter's church). The way you feel in a church is due to belief sure but also to upbringing. Liz's parents were staunch non-conformists which mine were a bit more casual in their beliefs. For my part I felt t was important not to upset the sensibilities of the local and regular worshippers but at the same time also wanted to contribute to the important link between the festival and the town in which it happens. As it happened all went well and the songs were well received. For our part it was a lovely opportunity to sing in an ancient and beautiful building. Stressful? Oh yes!


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 06:02 AM

I sang the Corpus Christi Carol once in a church in Jarrow as a solo spot in a concert given by the North East Recorder Orchestra. It is a big Victorian Church and the acoustics were wonderful. It gave you feedback and you could simply relax and let your voice come out.

It was well received by the audience, btw as was the concert as a whole. We usually do concerts on a shared takings basis with the venue and they will help by doing the publicity, producing the tickets and providing interval refreshments. It works well for everyone, and although I have no strong religious belief, I have no problems with this kind of arrangement.

In the UK, at least in my part of it, churches, church halls and village halls are the kind of venue which most amateur groups will use for performances as they are affordable. Small scale professional performances often take place in these kinds of venues as well as in pubs for similar reasons.

The kind of situation leeneia described in Kansas occurred here in Stockton-on-Tees when they knocked down a small arts centre and replaced it with a fancy theatre/concert hall and in the process pushed out the amateur groups that used to use the old centre. Ironically the new venue almost went bust within months of opening, though it was reprieved and is doing OK.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 10:06 AM

Here you are Swedish dancers in Church This was at the Saltö Festival in September

Chas


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:53 AM

God likes that kind of stuff.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Stewart
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:21 PM

Swedish dancers in Church!

That would never have happened in
Norwegian Lutheran churches in
rural S.E. Minnesota, where I used to live.

Until recent times (perhaps even still)
the violin was an instrument of the devil
and dancing was a mortal sin.

Quite amazing!

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Stewart
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:41 PM

But then they're Swedes,
not Norwegians!

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Fidjit
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 03:40 PM

Huge difference.

Chas


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 04:11 PM

Just an aside:

The idea that Scandinavians are all humorless may be a bit of an exaggeration. A bumper-sticker recently seen in Seattle's Ballard District:

Norwegian Driver
Thank You for Not Laughing!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:18 PM

I was raised Lutheran in SE Wisconsin, and nobody in my church had ideas like that. We loved music and enjoyed life.

I do believe that in the olden days fewer people would have associated the fiddle with the devil if electronic tuners had been available.
=============
Hi, Tootler. Nice to hear from a kindred spirit. Was your expensive new center shaped like a piece of pasta too?


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Stewart
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 06:55 PM

This is an excerpt from reminisces of a musical Norwegian-American family growing up in rural northern Wisconsin.

"Traditional Norwegian folk music was intended for dancing....many conservative Norwegian Lutherans looked on dancing as an absolute abomination and the folkdance music was literally regarded as "the music of the devil." The rural folk dances were of course lively affairs where drunkenness and fighting were all part of the scene... and even though the Berntson family was by nature a quiet and mild mannered bunch, the minister of the local Norwegian Lutheran Church was not the person one wanted to see pulling into the driveway when a music session was underway. The organ itself was considered by many to be an instrument for playing hymns and religious music...to use a sacred instrument in the playing of the devil's music then was in the minds of some, a moral outrage."

Although the Norwegian Lutheran churches in southeastern Minnesota were probably even more conservative, they have become more liberal in recent years. There is a lovely 1862 stone church (on the National Historic Register) in Valley Grove, MN, near St. Olaf College where I taught for 28 years. It is now administered by a local historic preservation society and is used for musical concerts of all types. It is a fantastic acoustic space for music. But I seem to recall some controversy about it's use as a music venue before the historic society took it over. I would have no problem performing there (in fact, I would love to), even though I am an ex-Lutheran and lapsed Unitarian (a half-way house to kick the religion habit - it seemed to work).

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 07:31 PM

STEW ... I VOWED TO QUIT THIS THREAD! But ... you have to explain to me the full ... and complete meaning of ... "A LAPSED UNITARIAN!" bob(dekman)nelson


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Stewart
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 08:16 PM

Bob, don't worry, this thread still has a lot of tread left on it, and I won't let you off that easy.

Lapse - 1. a small error. 2. a moral slip. 3. falling into a lower condition. 4. a passing as of time. 5. the termination of, as a privilege through failure to meet requirements. (Webster's Dictionary) Take your pick.

As I said in the parenthesis - a half-way house to kick the religion habit.

Anything else you want to know? We can keep this going for quite a while. It's your turn.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: dwditty
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 08:17 PM

What motive does one have to start a thread and then quit it? Perplexed.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:02 PM

I ran out of Vodka!


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 05:55 AM

As one who spends a lot of time examining the finer details of medieval churches, I also appreciate them in terms of their acoustics - especially if undampened by carpets! Check out my adventures as SUNDOG for field-recordings I've made in various churches and there's a Black Sea Fiddle improv HERE (track 4) recorded in in St. Swithin, Launcels last year which is as much church as it is fiddle.

Also this, from St. Margarets, Cley-next-the-Sea back in July. Shite sound, but you get the idea...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVB9zrG9Xgs


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM

Hello, S O'P

I was visiting Lincoln Cathedral one day. (I'm an alto.) I said something to my husband and was amazed to hear the space around me resonate with my voice. Later I realized that it was the bay, not the entire cathedral, that resonated.

I have two friends who are church musicians. They will say of a church that "It's an alto church," or a tenor or a soprano church, depending on which voices it resonates to.

Do you have any experiences like that?


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 10:51 AM

I tried to play your piece from York Minster, but nothing happened.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: meself
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 11:59 AM

What was supposed to happen? Was the devil supposed to appear an offer to buy your soul?

Just wondering ....


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 12:12 PM

Fylde festival, holds a festival in the local Methodist Church, with singers from the festival, Lancaster {Roman C.} cathedral holds concerts of various forms of music, one most memorable being 'The New Scorpian Band' who performed a Mummers play!


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 01:09 PM

I was visiting Rosslyn Chapel a while ago and tried the acoustics of the crypt. The music that immediately came to mind was the mediaeval chant "Vexilla Regis". I sang a couple of verses - meanwhile upstairs, some other visitors asked my girlfriend what the choir was.

When I can borrow a good digital recorder from somewhere, I'll go back and do some guerrilla recording on ocarina or alto flute.

The best echo in Britain is at the mausoleum of the Dukes of Hamilton, near Hamilton in western Scotland. Longer and stronger than St Pauls Cathedral. The building is a hollow tower like a great big salt shaker. The echo is so powerful you can't think of playing tunes, instead you do very slow-moving chord progressions built up out of your own echoes. It's full of Masonic symbolism, which I guess opens another can of worms. I've quite often been at music events in Masonic halls.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM

Thanks for the interesting stories, Jack.

Last week I heard a Mozart clarinet concerto in St Josaphat's church in Milwaukee. It is huge, high, and intricate.

In the middle of the concerto the clarinet played acapella and set that great space to reverberating. It was beautiful and remarkable.

Tell you what - I'll look up the Hamilton mauseoleum and you look up St Josaphat's Milwaukee Wisconsin. The building has an unusual history which may tickle your fancy.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 05:40 PM

Well ... I'm making a liar out of myself. I had vowed to quit this thread, but several posters have lured me to back into it.

When you recognize that a "church" is a building ... and it is built by humans ... that what it is ... A BUILDING BUILT BY HUMANS. Yet many people, even on this thread, have referred to the "holyness" ... the "sacredness" of the building. And indeed, it's that very mysteque (sp?) that I reject.

If a building, built by humans, succeeds in being acoustically good ... does that mean that it has become "holy" ... or something else?

Part of the reason, as Don Firth alluded too, I started this thread was a "church"experience I has when I was 12. I had to spend that summer away from my home and I lived with a Grandfather. He also happenned to be an elder in a Pentecostal church, in Vancouver, Washington. I was studying piano at the time, and my Grandfather obtained permission from the preacher for me to continue my piano lessons by playing the church piano.

That only lasted TWO DAYS ... the preacher's wife heard me practising my scales, and some simple Chopin ... and gave the orders that I was NO LONGER WELCOME to use the church piano ... my music was "TOO WORLDLY!"

I don't like to walk into churches anymore ... I don't care how good the folksinger is! Bob (deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 05:50 PM

You are denying yourself the pleasure of music and good company because of something one person supposedly said when you were a child?

I believe that's calle 'cutting off your nose to spite your face.'

======================
I've learned more about the Hamilton mausoleum and palace (now defunct).

"Like much of the Hamilton Estate, the mausoleum was struck by subsidence, due to the removal of the coal beneath."

Did the Hamiltons get the profits from the short-sighted coal mining? There's got to be a good song in that.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 06:24 PM

I sing with a chorus who perform mostly in churches, simply because there is a lack of decent halls with suitable space for a choir with over 30 members, with or without orchestra, that can be hired for less than an MP's expense account. Even some of the churches we sing in charge many hundreds of pounds (last time I checked, St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, was asking for a four-figured sum and you have to be invited to book). Admitedly, we do sing mostly religious music, but we recently did a programme of West End Show-stoppers, in a church, which garnered one of our best audiences yet.

As a Christian, I have no qualms about performing in churches, so long as others recognise that it is a place of worship and show it the due respect as I hope I do to churches that are not 'mine'.... but oddly enough, I do have a twinge of something with the issue of charging to hear a concert of music for the Mass. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable charging people to hear what should be reserved as an act of worship but I console myself with the knowledge that the money raised from ticket prices is split between a couple of registered charities.

If you feel uncomfortable performing in a church, then just don't accept gigs in a church, regardless of what your beliefs, your upbringing, your inclination or your affiliation may be. If it makes you uncomfortable, you won't perform to the best of your ability and that is unfair to the paying public.

LTS


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: dwditty
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 06:40 PM

For a look at some great upcoming shows in a church, see the Pierpont Concert thread.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,Emjay -- lost my cookie
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 07:52 PM

Bob -- We call ours The Meeting House. We are a congregation of very lapsed American Baptists to borrow from Stweart. We also don't have great acoustics since our Meeting House was once a private home. We do have a few who sing loudly, though. The only things approaching religious paraphernalia are a few banners -- one is a rainbow making THAT statement.
No one ever passes a plate, hardly anyone ever asks for money unless it's to say, "I think it's your turn to buy dinner," and you would be welcome to sing there.
There are churches -- I can think of a few -- I would walk across the street to avoid and there were times I wouldn't have visited the White House because of the occupants.
Martie


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 08:47 PM

The Hamiltons owned huge areas of coalfield in southwest Scotland. A lot of the coal in that area is in shallow seams, and the ground is often wet. There was one appalling disaster when the miners struck upwards into a swamp. The mine owners' surveying and design could be pretty slapdash.

I think what's happened around the mausoleum is that the whole area around it has sunk. Last time I tried to visit it, there had been heavy rain, and the mausoleum was sitting inaccessibly in the middle of a lake which was normally parkland. Taking a few feet of coal out from under a flat plain tends to do that.

I'll look at your basilica pictures when I get to a faster computer. From what I can see, it seems to be intended as a replica of the basilica of Assisi, and coincidentally I got a book about that today. It has one musically interesting item: in the chapel of St Martin attached to it, there is a fresco by Simone Martini from 1316-ish depicting the life of St Martin, which has two musicians playing - one has a stringed instrument midway between a cobza and a mandolin, the other is playing a double pipe like the Sardinian launeddas or Greek aulos (the painter even got the rectangular fingerholes right). Unusual sound to hear in a church, if the painting implies that.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 12:03 AM

Bob, I'm very sorry to hear that. That should not have happened.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 12:20 AM

Tim ... whether you think it should, or should not, have happened ... it DID happen. And it left a lasting impression on me ... a really bad taste in my mouth. Today, in Eastern Washington, probably three hours from my home, I know several "church" members that would agree with what was told to me in 1950. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Janie
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 12:47 AM

Reading your last couple of posts, Bob, it seems like performing or attending a secular music event in a church is something that you personally experience as toxic based on at least one previous and powerful experience. Don't confuse toxic emotional personal experience with matters of conscience.

However, be true to yourself whether the issues be matters of conscience or related to traumatizing emotional experiences. There is not a right or wrong answer. Do what your own wise mind tells you is appropriate for you.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 12:49 AM

Leeneia, I lived in Milwaukee eight years and saw St. Josaphat's Basilica hundreds of times, but never went inside. It was a place of legend on the South Side of Milwaukee - click here for a good picture of the building, which was built from the remains of the the old Chicago Post Office. It was a symbol of pride of the Polish community of Milwaukee.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:19 AM

Janie ... the only place I get my conscience is my experiences ... eh? A toxic eperience influences me as well as a good experience. That's where our values come from. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 04:52 AM

Do you have any experiences like that?

Constantly, but it's not so easy for me to quantify in musical terms. Churches were built as much as acoustic spaces as anything else, though modern carpeting & PA systems seems to have done away with that of late. One mediaeval church I visited recently (in Ely) looked like it was set up for a stadium rock concert - with light show & all. Happily though, many churches remain tiled (those tiles in the Cley Juxta Mare video clip are Elizabethan) and the acoustics glorious, even for solo feral fiddle, overtone flute, whistle or Jew's Harp.

Strange things happen in the Rosslyn crypt; I recorded a Jew's Harp improvisation in there once in which I detected two very high female voies which stopped when I stopped. This was in the pre-Da Vinci Code days - not a soul around; but even so nothing came out on the DAT tape! I'm not suggesting any supernatural agency here, just acoustic resonances and harmonics, similar to the EQ effects you get in certain Chapter Houses - York & Wells being noted in this respect. By the way, the York Chapter house recording plays okay at this end, though its mostly 'minster ambience' + a couple of lowish Jew's Harps. It's rare to get any chapter house to yourself for that length of time, so savouring it's 'silence' is all part of the process. I had the lady chapel of Ely Cathedral to myself for five minutes back in July, that was truly something for both the carvings and the acoustics, though I only recorded a minute or so on account of having a twisted back (a hazard of crawling around photographing the finer details of medieval misericords). I've put it up on my Sundog page but it's taking a wee while to process.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 08:51 AM

Here we are:

Martini's musicians on the Assisi fresco

And the same sort of instrument played today:

Patsy Seddon and Barnaby Brown at Iona: Deus Auribus


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 11:20 AM

"The Basilica of St. Josaphat, located in the Lincoln Village neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is one of 62 minor basilicas found in the United States. In its grandeur and opulence it is an excellent example of the so-called Polish Cathedral style of church architecture found in the Great Lakes region of North America. Modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, it features one of the largest copper domes in the world."

Joe, it wasn't the post office, it was the federal building. Acc to Wikipedia, the priest bought the materials, which came up to Milw on 500 flatcars. The blocks of stone were measured and the architect assembled them in a new design. Parishioners did much of the work. Amazing!

During intermission I said to my husband, "How did such a poor community build such an expensive church?"

He said, "Labor was cheap then."

I said, "But this church was built by those poorly-paid laborers."

He didn't have an answer.

One drawback - it took me 15 minutes to locate a restroom.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 12:57 PM

Doing the "virtual tour" of that, it reminded me of the great mosques Sinan designed in the late 16th century. Looking up a bit of art history, I see that Sinan got some of his ideas from St Peter's, so the resemblance is not coincidental.

But Sinan's mosques weren't designed to be very special acoustically. The biggest sound you'll ever hear inside a mosque is one man giving a sermon. And the sound is deadened by multiple layers of carpet. St Peter's itself doesn't have a great reputation as an acoustic space. So if the Milwaukee basilica works for music, it's probably more due to fluke than architectural experience.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:11 PM

When I was attending a church service, the minister was talking on about the wonders of the universe. I was about 12 at the time and hadn`t developed much social interaction skill. He said that light travelled at millions of miles per second. Big mouth here said loud enough to be heard by most of the Anglicans in attendance that light traveled at about 186,000 mps. I was informed while leaving the church that it would be ok if I didn`t return. I didn`t.

Now, if I go to a church it`s to listen to songs and music, not sermons. However, at the end of the day, Bob, you have to follow your gut. Make what`s the right decision for you.

Best wishes.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:13 PM

LTS, it caught my attention when you said more or less that churches are among the only venues that can accommodate your chorus of 30 or so voices. Interesting variance with my experience around here (Toronto area). The choruses in which I sing or have sung--one is 30 voices, the other 65+ but often only 45 can make it to a weeknight performance--usually have/had difficulty setting ourselves up so that all singers can see the director.

The reason is that the "stage" area typically is too small or obstacle-ridden for our risers to fit; rarely are there stairs wide & deep enough to use in lieu of risers; sometimes those stairs are spacious enough but curved out towards the congregation opposite to the curve of risers. Yes the acoustics are often wonderful even while, as already mentioned, the reverb can be excessive, however these physical layout problems are a notable nuisance which must be weighed with other factors. Not the least of which is, where else is there to sing?

Maybe it's the size of the churches or the local architecture... Anyway it just struck me how funny to have such opposite experiences with the same type of venue.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:25 PM

Deckman, are you comfortable continuing to live with the damage done by the cruel incident from your youth? Or is this thread a way to start re-thinking your reaction? You are an adult now and neither churches nor religious extremism are likely harm you when attending a concert. I'm saying this because you're obviously aware that your present-day reaction is well out of proportion to your present-day experience.

Gosh I fear that might sound smug or preachy but I'm being totally sincere.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Tim Chesterton
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 03:20 PM

If I left in a huff every time some folk singer sang 'Imagine' and wondered why I didn't applaud (I'm a pastor - do they really think I should applaud for a song that says having no religion would be a good thing?) - well, I'd never go near a folk club or live music venue. Similarly, if I chose to take offence every time one of my fellow musicians introduced one of their anti-war songs with a diatribe about how religions are evil because they've started most of the wars in history, I'd spend my whole life angry at someone.

Life's too short for that, and there's far too much good music to enjoy.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 03:33 PM

Well said, Tim. May the force be with you and remain with you.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 05:29 PM

Leeneia, it's interesting to study the history of construction of Catholic churches in the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We tend to think of church construction in terms of how it's done nowadays, but that's not how it happened.

According to this history of Milwaukee, the parish was founded as an offshoot of St. Stanislaw Parish (with the golden domes) in 1888, and a small building was erected to serve as church and school. The first church burned down the next year, and was replaced by a new brick building that cost thirty thousand dollars to build. That building proved to be too small, and construction of the current building began in 1898. When construction was completed, the old building became the parish school. St. Josaphat's and St. Stanislaus are still the most visible Polish churches in Milwaukee (although St. Stan's is now the center of the Latin Mass community, and is no longer Polish). This page says that there were seventeen Polish parishes built in Milwaukee from 1872-1925. Also, be sure to take a look at this Wikipedia page on the "Polish cathedral" style of architecture (although very few of these churches were actually cathedrals - the seat of a bishop).

The new building used materials from the demolished Chicago Customs House and Post Office (a/the Federal Building). What isn't said in the history, is that I'm sure that everyone involved in the construction of the church was Polish, and that the building contractors were Polish and were members of the parish. Most likely, almost everyone who worked on the building was a member of the parish. The parish served the Lincoln Village community of Milwaukee, which was still predominantly Polish when I lived on the South Side of Milwaukee in the 1960s. Even in the 1960s, the parish served as a Polish community center and the parish still served as a place where people could find referrals for employment, medical care, housing, and whatnot. Lincoln Village had a small Latino population in the 1960s, and it was the only place in Milwaukee where you could get decent Mexican food, and tacos that weren't made with Cheeze Whiz. Lincoln Village is now 55% Latino. I'm sure the Poles have assimilated quite well by now, but the whole South Side of Milwaukee was Polish when I lived there in the 1960s, except for a small strip by Lake Michigan.

So, my point is that the church wasn't just a church - it was the very center of the community, an expression of the identity and life of the entire Polish community. I imagine that members of St. Josaphat's may have come from one part of Poland, and members of other parishes from other areas of Poland.

My home town was Racine, a little industrial city 25 miles south of Milwaukee. I think we had eight Catholic parishes in the center of town, all within walking distance of each other. St. John Nepomuk was Czech, St. Mary's and Holy Name were German, St. Pat's and St. Rose of Lima were Irish, St. Casimir was Lithuanian, and Holy Trinity was Slovak. I can't remember which parishes were Italian. Mass was in Latin, but all other activities of the parish were in the language of the predominant ethnic group. Again, each parish served as a social, cultural, and economic center for its ethnic group. Most times, parishes imported their priests from the Mother Country. St. Francis Seminary, which I attended, was German in origin and taught classes in German, so its graduates weren't of much use to small-town ethnic parishes. By the time I attended St. Francis in the 1960s, I was required to take 6 years of Latin, two years of Greek, and 3 years of my choice of German, French, or Polish. Later on, training in Spanish became a near-universal requirement for American Catholic seminarians.

And since churches were so important to the community, even poor communities could raise the money to build elaborate churches - and much of that construction money stayed right in the community. Thriftiness was usually the rule, however. It wasn't unusual for churches to be built from the remains of older buildings, like the Federal Building that served as the basis for St. Josaphat's. The Germans who built St. Francis Church in Sacramento used parts of the stairway banisters from the State Capitol for the choir loft railing and for statue pedestals - that why you'll see the state mammal, the grizzly bear, all over the interior of the church.

I think that priests of my generation, including many of my seminary classmates, failed to recognize the importance of parishes for anything but religious purposes. For the most part, my seminary classmates were homogenized Americans with no particular ethnic identity, and I remember how we used to joke about all this ethnic stuff. It's too bad we didn't understand and respect it, and work to preserve the best of it. Maybe that's part of the reason why so many beautiful old Catholic churches stand empty in American cities.

As for acoustics, they're mixed. Whenever I visit an old Catholic church, I make a habit of testing the acoustics by singing a little Gregorian chant. Some are terrific, and some are not. I'll bet a lot depended on who was directing music at the time the church was built.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 05:30 PM

Crowhugger ... I do believe you are sincere. And I'm going to try to be just as sincere and serious. I've gone full circle on this issue of me and churches. NOTICE that I have NOT said: me and religion.

By the time I was 20, I realized that those preacher wife's comments were pretty weird. I have successfully, so far, navigated through this world of various religions, faiths, perceptions, etc.

But ... and maybe this is why I started this thread ... I now find myself surrounded by Pentecostal churches ... and other churches of extreme beliefs. I watch the rise of religion and politics in my country, and I feel I have to make a statement ... subtle as it is.

For me to walk into a church, I feel, is for me to give validation ro this rise in relgionism ... is that a word?

Again, I'm NOT saying anyone else should feel the same way ... I'm just saying that that is where I am at 174 years of age. bob


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 05:42 PM

Bob, I knew you were well-preserved, but 174 years of age????

your younger buddy,

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Deckman
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 05:53 PM

Joe ... that's NO MISSPRINT. But it does change frequantly ... yesterday I felt 274 years olde!


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 07:15 PM

Thanks for sharing memories, Joe.

As to acoustics, I've read that acoustics is such a difficult field and interactions between sound and buildings so unpredictable that basically people just built the buildings and lived with the acoustics they got.


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 07:59 PM

I think that's an interesting topic for another thread sometime, the history of acoustic design. I've heard that Roman amphitheaters were designed with sound amplification in mind. Orchestra shells have been around for a long time.
And some old churches have such wonderful acoustics, that I can't believe they weren't designed with acoustics in mind.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: performing in churches ?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 11:16 PM

Yes I noticed your choice of words, religion vs churches and I, too, feel discomfort when my actions support religious extremism. Your discussions carry a more measured, less reactive meaning for me now that I know that you've long been aware it was "they" who were being weird about your piano practice. Thanks for the clarification!


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