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  1. #121
    Distinguished SOTW Member. eugeneherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Attending church makes you a Christian like standing in a garage makes you a car!

  2. #122

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneherman View Post
    Attending church makes you a Christian like standing in a garage makes you a car!
    In the same way that posting in a thread doesn't mean you actually have a point.

  3. #123

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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by smoothjazz1701 View Post
    This new church had professionals that could meet our son's needs. I auditioned for their music ministry. The young music minister did not have a clue how to integrate me into the group. I was invited to play for an Easter Service. With only a lead sheet in hand I played what I thought was appropriate....weaving in and out in between phrases...never on top of the lead vocalist or lead guitar. The leader turned to me and motioned to me to stop playing....in the middle of a song!!! I felt sooooo embarrased and after Praise and Worship was over I packed up my sax and walked out. Later I was given the "we will call you speech"....three years have passed and I have not heard from them.

    After so many years of awesome ministry work it ended on a sour note.
    I'm sorry to hear that, Smoothjazz. It's true that a lot of church music is now guitar-driven. The last place I was at had a large group of musicians and a veritable guitar army. While the worship leader was young, a lot of the musicians were older players, and folks got along well. The guitar players excelled at what they did, but the sound was largely heavy metal, just not a good fit for a saxophone. I got to the point where I felt frustrated for a number of reasons and finally took a hiatus from which I never returned. In my opinion, based on what I've experienced over the years, the ministry concept that has been embraced by many praise teams is big on rehearsals but shallow in building relationships, sharing life, and praying together. In the end, the music in itself can't hold my interest--because worship really isn't about the music. It goes deeper than that.
    Stormhorn
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  4. #124
    Distinguished SOTW Member. eugeneherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    My point, if too obtuse for you marton, was that being a member or musical director or self appointed arbiter of 'What is proper in "our church" ' is very common and 'no' benchmark. Many are assailed in many so-called houses of worship for various things. My point being 'Don't let the B.S. wear you down!

  5. #125

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneherman View Post
    My point, if too obtuse for you marton, was that being a member or musical director or self appointed arbiter of 'What is proper in "our church" ' is very common and 'no' benchmark. Many are assailed in many so-called houses of worship for various things. My point being 'Don't let the B.S. wear you down!
    And mine? I'll spell it out. There's a time and a place

  6. #126
    Distinguished SOTW Member. eugeneherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    For what exactly?

  7. #127

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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    It would be a sad thing if a thread centered on playing music for the Lord degenerated into sarcasm and flaming.

    Suggestion: Input is helpful only when its meaning is clear. So if you truly want the comment you're offering to serve a constructive purpose, then state it in a way that doesn't leave people wondering what your point was. If you have to explain your meaning in a second post, then your explanation may be the thing you should have shared to begin with. Read this as helpful advice, not mean-spirited criticism.
    Stormhorn
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  8. #128
    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Reading through most of the posts on this thread, I'm struck by the incongruity from some church goers regarding the sax as being out of place because of it's perceived shady past. The incongruity is that Jesus was modern; a contemporary man for the times. He threw off much tradition that was an impediment to having one's sights, and heart, on God.
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  9. #129
    Distinguished SOTW Member Honeyboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    I have played sax in churches since 1976 when I first gave my life to Jesus. I have gone to about 6 or 7 different churches during that time. Only two of them didn't like the sax due mainly to a change in the music ministry leadership. Initially my playing was well received and I got loads of playing time, both supportive and 'lead' spots.One of the new leaders decided the songs had to be exactly like the original songs on the CDs. Since he chose music with lots of guitars, he was reluctant to have me play since he felt it would "confuse the people". So, failing to convince him otherwise, I switched to a different church. Same thing. The leadership changed after about 3 years, and the new guy told me he wasn't very comfortable having a sax in the band. I assured him it would be okay, and he allowed it for awhile, but later started doing the same thing as the previous leader. He chose mostly guitar weighted music and wanted them to sound just like the original cover tune. So, I moved on again. For the last two years I've been attending a church where they alternately use me or a fiddle player as the head instrument and they love the sax as part of the worship. I get lead parts in songs where the original might have a guitar and it doesn't seem to bother anyone. In fact, they even pay me to show up!
    I have never attended a church where the sax was regarded as 'the devil's instrument' or a church where music was shunned. Those types of restrictions are of a religious, man-made nature, not based on biblical truth or principles. I prefer places where the whole bible is accepted and practiced. But some people are more comfortable in those other settings, and that's fine with me.
    11th Commandment: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's axe.

  10. #130
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    WARNING: Folksy Story and Borderline Religious Discussion Below

    Last Sunday, my wife and I flew back in from a long weekend in Corpus Christi. We went down there so I could help with an environmental assessment. So it was kind of a working mini-vacation. We got back in time for church on Sunday night which was our "5th-Sunday Singing". This is a special services made of music, poetry, stories told by folks about personally finding the Lord and such. Normally, my wife and I feature heavily in this service with singing, playing and some wind orchestra pieces. But this time we were very tired, so we left it all up to others except for one pieces that I had worked up for the wind orchestra members. The main feature was the church's "Guitar Band" which is made up of about a dozen retired folks playing guitars, mandolins and singing old southern gospel standards. The average age is about 70. And I really enjoyed it.

    The point is that my service to the Lord in church doesn't belong to me. I didn't come there expecting to be a musician or band leader. All that just happened because it was what the Lord wanted. And if I'm not supposed to play, I don't play. I leave that choice up to a higher power. What I am trying to say is that I leave all the responsibility and worry up to faith. That way I am free to make and create music. If a time comes when I am not wanted, I know another door will open for me. No matter what flavor of Christian you are, the message is clear that we are supposed to live by faith and worship in the spirit. If you do these two things with your church saxophone playing and just ignore the rest, I truly believe that you will be blessed just as I have been.
    Good Luck,

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  11. #131

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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Intersting and long post. Most of what there is to say on any side has already been said. I just want to add a couple comments.

    First, I think we are making a mistake in our interpretation of scriptures when we expect that it addresses everything, and only what is specifically mentioned is what God wants to hear. If the Apostle Paul writes to a group and tells them to sing, maybe it is because it is a church that has no gifted musicians. The point is that just because instruments are left out may not have anything to do with God's attitude toward their use, but rather is more likely a reflection on what was happening at the time in the church being addressed. Culture is reflected in scripture and even those who hold to a fundamentalist view do not argue with that. Some presecriptions are culturally bound, and to apply them today, we need to see the principles behind the admonitions.

    Secondly, while I agree that the whole congregation is to participate in worship, those leading can only provide an opportunity, a setting, content and their own heart of worship. What the congregation does cannot be totally judged correctly by us or controlled by us. It is between each individual and the Spirit that moves. Too many times we confuse the display of strong emotion in the congregation with the Spirit's moving. It may be, but not necessarily. I have seen a lot of strong emotion at a rock concert that had nothing to do with anything spiritual or religious, but rather just the opposite. There are times in worship when I am singing loud, my feet are tapping and I am given over to the words we are singing. There are other times when I am troubled in Spirit and need to just close my eyes and listen to the worship team and those in the congregation singing and in my quietness I am worshipping. There are other time, sad to say, when I am just plain distracted by life and it does not matter how perfect and Spirit filled the room is, I am having trouble going there. You see, the issue is me and my heart, even more than the worship team and what they are doing. If my heart is right, I can worship just as well in Accapella, Hymns and an organ, or a modern Praise and Worship band. If my heart is not right, then sometimes it takes me a while in the midst of the worship to get it there. I think we are focusing too much on the worship team and style of music. That is cultural. As long as what is going on is culturally relevent, performed by godly folks who are using their gifts in such a way that they are not a distraction or drawing their attention away from God, then it comes back to the people in the pews. They are the ones resposible before God for their attitudes and worship.

    Marshall

  12. #132
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    smoothjazz1701,

    Spot On !! In regards to culture. I will add my two pennies to the discussion.

    I was raised in a church culture that does not allow instruments of any kind in its worship service...strictly congregational voices alone (not even a choir). Consequently, I attended a liberal-arts college sponsered by the same church demonination. It was a very good academic school which had a good music school, with bands, choirs, orchestras, etc. However, in its worship services and chapel services 9required attendance everyday) they still practiced voices alone.

    Over time, I realized from my own study and reasoning, that their interpretation of scriptures (particularly about the use of music) was too narrow for me. I then started searching for my own spiritual path. I even looked at other types of religion. I did come back to Christianity. I have since been a part of many culterally different Christian services: from traditional Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist churches to contemporary community churches and "blended" services (both contemporary and traditonal aspects).

    All of the comments have been very interesting and enlightening. I believe it is all a matter of culture you grow up with and a matter of where your comfort zone is. God is open to all cultural expressions and I believe in what "stormhorn" had so expertly has said. It is all a matter of the heart and of one's intent in their worship to God. God allows us the freedom to choose the vehicle in which to worship him. But if the heart is not in the right place, then it is not worship. There are times where getting into a mind-frame of worship is challenging. After all, we are human and fall down. However, the worship service is the time to be lifted up and the opportunity to lift others in worship through music is a wonderful gift from God. So, to the one who started this post, "chin up" and keep on being a blessing with your saxophone. To the other believers out there, "worship God in Spirit and in truth". Only you and your faith in God and what he tells you through his word, can tell you what is appropriate to you.

    Blessings to All
    "Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  13. #133

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Theres no doubt music in most churches have gone contemporary. Our church has pretty much done the same thing. Ive always been lucky though, as every church Ive visited that heard me play asked me to join there groups. I have seen hard feelings happen though when a director tries to push someone out who might not fit the group, or worse, cant play, lol. Theres 2 sides to this arguement, and I see both sides. Its not always easy for a director to push some out, believe it or not unless hes a jerk, it wasnt done to hurt you. On one end of the spectrum, it could be that maybe he didnt feel you played well enough to be in the group, all the way to the opposite side of things where he liked how you played but he just didnt think a saxophone fit the group. This is where it gets tricky. Where do you balance bringing your talents and using them vs. making the group sound well. My personal experience is, if your willing to make the practices, we can make you sound good enough,lol. If you wont attend practices, or play what your asked to play, dont show up the Sunday you were scheduled.......things get sticky.

    I do think the worse thing a church can do is fall into we need to do "whats popular" and trendy. I realize we like what we currently listen too, but we also should try to fit all the talents in the church in the schedule somewhere. Maybe some of you could get some backing tracks and play some specials every now and then. Sometimes, this really is better anyway for some.

    Ive heard players that just werent going to play well with the group, and thats not exactly fun either. Whats worse is some of these people have no clue there bad players. To them, there a great sax player , singer, etc....

    Its a hard situation. The only thing I would like to say is, dont let it get you down. Theres more to church then just playing music. Im not saying you shouldnt go elsewhere to use your talents, but really step back and look at everything and make a wise decision on whats best for you, and the church as well.
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  14. #134
    Distinguished SOTW Member. eugeneherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    The social standing of 'standing' or attending regularly any organized group meeting does not confer upon one the mantle of 'arbiter' of what's proper for 'us' here in 'our' church. Or more simply for you... 'Just because you attend a church does not make you anything other than another spectator'. So any regular group (including this website) tends to cause some people to need to 'rant' about what is proper and not proper. Witness my recent posts with the 'great Bua' as one good example of people that take themselves waay too seriously and pontificate waay too generously!
    'It's ain't about the notes on the page, it's about the notes on the stage!'

  15. #135
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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    WARNING: Another Folksy Story (Sorry but this the only way I know to discuss this subject)

    We were really tired last week so I canceled church orchestra practice. I told the members that I'd just bring them something simple to play on Sunday morning that they'd played before.

    Well, this has been a hard week for me. My daddy has advanced Alzheimer and has been in the nursing home for seven years. His mind has been gone for a very long time but now his health is failing. On this Saturday, I went to see him and the nurse asked me about signing some papers. These papers released the nursing home from having to hook my dad up to an I.V. for nourishment and water. Since he won't hardly take food or water anymore, withholding the I.V. means he won't last much longer. Signing that paper was one of the hardest and loneliest things I've ever had to do. But as his son, it was my job to see that they didn't prolong his suffering. I felt like dying. But I didn't let my pain show. My kids may likely have to sign the same papers on me one day. And I wanted to show them an example of surety, not deep sorrow and regret.

    I came home, grabbed a sax and played hard for about an hour. The old bluesy gospel spirituals that came out of my horn seemed to help me hold the tears back. Then this Sunday morning I gave the orchestra a simple arrangement of Holy, Holy Holy. While they played this, I joined in on soprano with Amazing Grace over the top of it. I've done this before. But today, I put everything I was feeling into the performance. After it was over, there were loud shouts of "amen" and then the crowed broke out into applause. This was the kind of applause that is very rare in a Baptist church. And at that moment, my heart lifted because I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be in the universe and I knew I was doing exactly what I was meant to do.

    To me, this is what playing saxophone in church is all about. If you live by faith and play by faith, great uplifting things will happen even in the bad times.
    Good Luck,

    Enviroguy
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  16. #136

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    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    "If you live by faith and play by faith, great uplifting things will happen even in the bad times. "

    Amen!

  17. #137

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by kerry View Post
    Theres no doubt music in most churches have gone contemporary. Our church has pretty much done the same thing. Ive always been lucky though, as every church Ive visited that heard me play asked me to join there groups. I have seen hard feelings happen though when a director tries to push someone out who might not fit the group, or worse, cant play, lol. Theres 2 sides to this arguement, and I see both sides. Its not always easy for a director to push some out, believe it or not unless hes a jerk, it wasnt done to hurt you. On one end of the spectrum, it could be that maybe he didnt feel you played well enough to be in the group, all the way to the opposite side of things where he liked how you played but he just didnt think a saxophone fit the group. This is where it gets tricky. Where do you balance bringing your talents and using them vs. making the group sound well. My personal experience is, if your willing to make the practices, we can make you sound good enough,lol. If you wont attend practices, or play what your asked to play, dont show up the Sunday you were scheduled.......things get sticky.

    I do think the worse thing a church can do is fall into we need to do "whats popular" and trendy. I realize we like what we currently listen too, but we also should try to fit all the talents in the church in the schedule somewhere. Maybe some of you could get some backing tracks and play some specials every now and then. Sometimes, this really is better anyway for some.

    Ive heard players that just werent going to play well with the group, and thats not exactly fun either. Whats worse is some of these people have no clue there bad players. To them, there a great sax player , singer, etc....

    Its a hard situation. The only thing I would like to say is, dont let it get you down. Theres more to church then just playing music. Im not saying you shouldnt go elsewhere to use your talents, but really step back and look at everything and make a wise decision on whats best for you, and the church as well.
    In my case the pastor of our church went to see Hillsongs United in concert and came back and changed everything. Our Music director and us horn players were phased out within a few months and replaced with a young musician from the youth ministry. Its not they I or we sucked it was the whole lets do what Hillsongs is doing now. I know I am wrong but I time it just right and make it to church just in time to miss praise and worship at my current church.
    MacSax Empyreal Alto Sax, Drake DRJA 5 mpc w/ Double Rail Vintage Resin Ligature
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  18. #138

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    I would honestly go to the pastor and ask him this question in a kind way.

    Should I use my talents in the world pastor, or do you think God gave me these gifts to use for him? I ask this because in this church, Ive been asked to hide my gifts.

    Now, to be fair in my above statments, I'll agree that there may be some good reasons for asking someone to step down from any instrument or singing in the church. My personal favorite of those are what I call, the Sunday jammers. Wont put 2 minutes to prepare themselves with the group, but want to bring there instrument every Sunday to get there 30 minutes of preactice per week. I'd like to ask these people are you playing for God, or yourself. If a pastor put no time into his studying, what kind of lesson do you think we would get? Whats worse is imagine if that Pastor put in some hours of practice and then another pastor shows up and shouts over top of him while he's giving his lesson. Some people are just about themselves.

    Smoothjazz,
    really sorry to hear this man. I cant imagine not being asked to play my saxophone anymore. Thats just aweful. To me it sounds like maybe the director is there to make a concert, not a worship service.

    A lot of churches are asked to play contemporary because its safe, and will draw the most crowds. This isnt always the case, but many of the churches try to become a buisiness. Very sad.
    ____________________________________________________________________
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  19. #139

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Didn't Christ use the analogy of trading upon one's gifts in the world, as if it were money? I don't get why some people think there should be a delineation between playing music in the "world" and playing music in church, exclusively, one way or the other. Doesn't make sense. Isn't the church just people? It isn't the building, or so I'm lead to believe. I think this is a very interesting area. After all, I don't think any of us here are monks. We don't hide away in some cave somewhere wishing and hoping the world would just go away. Maybe someone can shed some more light on this for me.

  20. #140

    Default Re: The Saxophone in Christian Music?

    Quote Originally Posted by marton View Post
    Didn't Christ use the analogy of trading upon one's gifts in the world, as if it were money? I don't get why some people think there should be a delineation between playing music in the "world" and playing music in church, exclusively, one way or the other. Doesn't make sense. Isn't the church just people? It isn't the building, or so I'm lead to believe. I think this is a very interesting area. After all, I don't think any of us here are monks. We don't hide away in some cave somewhere wishing and hoping the world would just go away. Maybe someone can shed some more light on this for me.
    There is nothing wrong with using your God given talents in the World. We are in the World but not of it.
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