Music Memory -- Dr. Stanley Roberts
While I sat at my desk working on worship this week, my mind was also pondering the writing of this article. It is a constant issue for me—thinking about multiple things at the same time. When working, I have the more pressing current thought when a mental “to do” list scrolling between my ears. I don’t think that I am crazy (no comments please), it’s just the way my mind processes information and ideas, but sometimes it leaves me feeling that my creative efforts are a series of parenthetical statements. (So I will insert some into this article for effect).
Accompanying the random thoughts that tumble inside my brain is also a sea of musical motives that endlessly churn. True confession, there is rarely a time in my life that I don’t “hear” music inside my head and it is a rather eclectic soundtrack from rock to Gregorian chant to classical to country (both old and new). I find that no matter the thought, my brain continuously replays these musical fragments as I think. It is both my blessing and my curse—just ask my wife who often inquires, “Do you know that you are humming?” or “do you even know what you are humming?” (By the way, the answer to either question is “yes.”)
As a church musician, my musings are even more intense. For example when I see the worship theme of the day or the O.T./N.T. Lesson (say from one of the Psalms—23, 46, or 150 or Luke 2) or hear a short reference to scripture, my mind begins to play a cacophony of musical themes based on the hymns and solos that I have sung or a choral work that I have conducted. (So now you know…)
Our guest sermonizer this week is the Rev. Jim Dant. He is a person for whom I have a great deal of respect for he is both a preacher and a musician. I regret that I will not experience his worship leadership for I will be on jubilate! choir tour. The theme of his sermon is “how memory shapes community and the individual.” When I read his topic, my brain immediately sparked and inserted an adjective (which is usually a noun) into his sermonic theme—“how music memory shapes community and the individual.” That’s it, I thought! Music memory is what most shapes my life. It is the soundtrack of my being. Music memory reminds me of countless times of worship in all kinds of spaces, places and situations. It reminds me of so many people present and past. It reminds me of you who sing in the greatest choir (the congregation) each week. I am sure that Rev. Dant will flesh out his sermon in a completely different way, but I received a great message in advance. So, come hear his thoughts on Sunday, then Wednesday night come and hear the jubilate! Festival Singers (featuring our own Olivia McMillan) at 6:30. It will prove to be yet another music memory for me (and maybe for you).