Monday, June 9, 2008

Gospel Night

The original Golden Street Quartet
Russ Carter

Last night was a treat for those who chose to go to Faith Baptist. We had a gospel sing night with several different "groups" performing, and with the Golden Street Quartet featured twice. The Golden Street Quartet first started in 1974 and traveled around many placed. I am not positive, but I believe the four original men were those that performed at the start of the night last father-in-law, Russell Carter, Frank Schaap, John Parks, and Bill Lundsten.

Frank John Bill

Listening to these gentlemen sing and joke, I could only imagine what it was like back in their heyday. The singing was wonderful as was the banter back and forth between them. But best of all was the praise for Christ. "Old fashioned" songs, wonderful four-part harmony, songs that were new to me as well as some treasured favorites.

There was a ladies' duet by Jan Lundsten (her husband sang bass in the quartet) and Jan Henderson, our church secretary -- beautiful! Actually, as Frank (the emcee) found out, they had two numbers, not just the one.

Bill and Jan also sang a couple songs as a duet. One song, I don't remember the exact title, was something like "My Hand in Yours" and I loved how they held hands the entire song!

Jeff Menten, our local string virtuoso, did a great number on the violin (that was later sung by the "current" Golden Street Quartet).

Craig and Ann Clark did a finger-twisting number on the clarinet and flute. I was in awe and wondered how their fingers didn't get tangled!

My friend Jane was one of three pianists that night...she also played the organ on the congregational singing. Such great talent! I was also enjoying the piano talent of Anna Campbell, she can really play!

Wrapping up the evening was the current Golden Street Quartet. Bill is still part of the group, but there are three "new" members, including our neighbor Harold Evink (he looks quite different driving a baler!) and Julie Henderson.

There are so many different ways to worship God in music. And it's such a form of contention in so many churches with so many believers. I'm not a huge fan of most southern gospel, although I enjoyed it on the few songs it was featured on last night. I appreciate so much the "old fashioned" hymns, and I really enjoy "modern" praise and worship, especially when singing God's words right from His Book. I don't understand some of the styles that are so popular, although I do enjoy a few alternative bands (some who aren't even together any more like Audio Adrenaline) and the styles of Michael W. Smith, Wayne Watson, Petra, even some White Heart, and more. Country just out and out makes me shudder! But when worship comes from the heart as an offering to God, wow! What a wonderful thing it is! Even when I don't particularly like the style :)

I read in our weekly church handout (Power for Living) a few months back an article about worship. Not specifically about music, although that was touched on. But something that was written about worship music really hit home with me. When we start complaining about worship music, when we put our personal likes and dislikes first, when we refuse to participate in a corporate form of worship music because we don't "like" the style (be it hymns, praise music, gospel, etc.), we are putting our self higher than God. We are taking the glory from Him and putting the focus on us. Wow! That really resounded within me! And in a recent Family in Focus article on why people leave their church, one of the main reasons listed was music -- and again, something really struck me. The author wrote that if you attend a 400-person church and your favorite music is played at least one Sunday every six years -- hey, you've had your special day. Let everyone else enjoy their favorite music style at least once, too.
Now, I do think that there are certain types of musical styles that aren't appropriate for every church -- I cannot see alternative or rap music being played in many denominations including mine, for instance! -- but if the intent in the hearts of those leading worship is truly to praise and worship God, then I need to focus on praising and worshipping God, not how good the music does or doesn't sound to me. There was one song last night that was so off key, I know I couldn't keep my face from reflecting the displeasure that was showered on my ears! But...I also know the group really was singing for God's glory...and God hears the heart.
Last night was about fun...but it was even more about worshipping God. And we did!

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