Back in August 2015, I wrote a post called “Musical Olympian” in which I wrote about living in a bubble: Some time ago, I took a PBS Newshour quiz called, “Do you live in a bubble?” Charles Murray, a political scientist theorizes in his book, Coming Apart, that certain Americans have little exposure to American culture at large. They therefore live in a social and culture bubble. If you’d like to take the test, you can click here.
Some of the questions that were asked were, “In high school, did you letter in anything? and “During the last five years, have you or your spouse gone fishing?” Most of my answers were ‘no.’ I would have to say that in our household, sports were a big zero — we did not watch football, basketball or baseball on television, even big events like the Super Bowl or the World Series. If you ask me, from year to year, as to what teams are playing in the Super Bowl, I couldn’t tell you.
Well, now I have further proof of living in a bubble: I have never experienced or listened to “praise music”: defined as contemporary Christian worship music. According to Wikipedia, Contemporary worship music (CWM), also known as praise and worship music, is a defined genre of Christian music used in contemporary worship. It has developed over the past sixty years and is stylistically similar to pop music. The songs are frequently referred to as “praise songs” or “worship songs” and are typically led by a “worship band” or “praise team”, with either a guitarist or pianist leading.
All that is now going to change, as I substitute for the next five weeks for the United Church of Christ Judd Street. In addition to traditional Christian hymnody, I will be playing three “praise hymns.” It will be a new experience for sure—and as I listened to the first of the songs on YouTube, I am definitely feeling out of my comfort zone! Yes, I can face down any Bach you could throw at me, but give me a praise hymn, and I’m completely flummoxed!
After Sunday, I’ll let you know how it goes!
In the meantime, tomorrow I’ll be meeting Byong-Suk Moon, the visiting Korean organist who will be playing a concert on Sunday afternoon, January 28 at 5:00 pm at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. The word is out that he speaks fluent German but little English, so we will see how that goes. I will show him where to find the organ key, how to turn on the lights and air conditioning, etc.
This week I’ve had a houseguest, Joan Ishibashi, who is a United Church of Christ pastor and former Executive Assistant of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. You may remember I visited her in London last summer where she moved four years ago.
This weekend in addition to attending the organ recital by Prof. Moon, we will also attend a recital by students of Darel and Georgine Stark, including my two organ students, Sophia and Raphael who will be playing the organ.
We will also go to the 100th birthday concert of Leonard Bernstein by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra on Saturday night.
Oh, and tomorrow night I’m giving a dinner party for 7 people—friends of Joan’s (and mine!) from her LCH days. I just now compiled the menu: tomato and mozzarella appetizers, oven baked zucchini chips, cocktail shrimp, spinach salad with blueberries and pecans, honey lime glazed salmon, rice pilaf, baked stuffed Parmesan tomatoes and broccolini.
Just another crazy weekend!