Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recording a Singing Church

Red Team has just started the process of recording a new album of the songs we sing with the congregation at Ashland First. I am going to try and produce an album which is true to my theological vision of a singing church. This means:
  1. All the singing on the congregational hymns/songs will be by a group, not a solo vocal.
  2. This group will be representative of the whole congregation - in age, sex and ability. (OK, in the interests of quality I should probably say "somewhat representative")
  3. We are going to use the talents we have to hand in the congregation which means we will have an unorthodox mix of instruments. 
I know that I will fight some of my natural producer's instincts on these rules and will probably have a number of compromises -- one I have made already is that I shipped in a drummer which we don't have on a regular Sunday.

It is interesting to consider that most recordings of "church music" are built either around a solo vocal (contemporary praise and worship) or an accomplished choir (classical music). Black gospel music is, of course, built around both. Where are the voices of the congregation?  It makes it difficult for congregations and musicians to imagine what this music would sound like - church music where the voices of the congregation praising God together is the music of the church.

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