VBS is always fun, but it is always good when it is over. The thing I have realized about VBS here in Texas is that everyone has a different idea of how children's songs go. They generally are not on paper anywhere, so that means from one part of the country to another they are sung differently. That puts me as the singing guy at a huge disadvantage, cause I only know my version and it may not be the one they are used to. Examples include "I'm in the Lord's Army," "The Butterfly Song," "12 Men Went to Spy," and "Who's the King of the Jungle." Some have different words and some have different tunes. Why can't people just teach the correct version. (the one I know of course) :)
And of course when it comes to music, people are pretty stubborn about how it is sung. It is more than just children's songs. When I rehearse the worship team, if it isn't the arrangement they are used to or if they are used to doing something that is not in the music, then they let me know about it. Not in bad way, but it is obvious that when people sing something a certain way, they don't like to change it. It is kind of like big hits. I love the song "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban. That is the first person I heard do it and I love it. You can't top what he has already done. To have a girl sing the second verse just doesn't do the song justice to me. Now some of you first heard it when Selah did it and you can't imagine the song any different than the way they do it. It is funny how stubborn we get about music. It seems to be a universal thing with most people. That fact alone makes worship ministry a difficult job, because everyone has a view on how things need to be sung or what needs to be sung. I'm stubborn too. I like what I like, but as a worship minister, I don't have the luxury to just do it my way all the time.
What is about music that makes us so stubborn? I think I have an idea. Music touches a part of us that not many other things in life touch. When music touches us we associate the way it is done with the feelings we have. When we hear a song sung differntly it throws up immediate red flags. ("Wait, that is not the way that goes.") Is the new way bad, no, but it is different and in the case of music, different is in many cases bad.
There are times when it is easy to change a piece of music because the way it has been done in the past has not been effective. But if a group of people are touched by a song, it is not worth the fight to change it.
An example at PRCC is the song "There's a Stirring." PRCC sings it differently than I learned it at Lipscomb. When I first put it in the order, they didn't sing it to the music and added a different descant line than I was used to. When I changed it I got several phone calls and emails disapproving of my changes. I then sent out an infamous email to the praise team entitled "There's a Stirring in the worship team."
I guess you could say that music has the tendancy to bring out our selfishness, yet God says that our singing needs to be about others not about ourselves.
I do think there comes a time when a song has been done so many times the same way that most everyone welcomes a change in the song. I think that is why you are seeing the old hymns revitalized throuh different arrangements. "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" is a great hymn and means a lot the way it has always been done, but there is something fresh about some of the new praise bands putting a new twist to the music.
I don't claim to know how all this works, but so far these are some of my insights. What I do know for sure is that music is powerful and because of that people hold "their" music very near to their hearts and are more than willing to speak up if it is done too differently.
Sorry for the ramble.