Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My other job (guest blogging my own blog)

I am blessed to work as a full-time church musician at St. Thomas Lutheran in Omaha, NE. I also serve the Nebraska Choral Director's Association as Repertoire & Resources Chair for Music in Worship. As an R&R Chair I connect with other Church Choral and Worship Leaders throughout the state as often as I can, choose and present music at conferences that I hope is beneficial and useful to church musicians, and I also write a blog. Below is the blog I created for Short Notes, the monthly digital newsletter sent out by NCDA. I hope you enjoy it reading it.

Fill the house with singing and your hearts with praise! Psalm 147
I am finishing up some score selection for my choir today. I am constantly struck by how the Holy Spirit moves to help me find exactly what the Lord needs in worship for each week. I don’t say this without knowing that there will be work, and sweat, but hopefully no blood, involved in getting these pieces up and ready.
Church choirs go through so much repertoire. I recently counted (because I needed to make some selections). My choir will sing over 40 unique pieces of literature between September and May. Some of this is the weekly worship need, some for festivals, and some for special events and services. But I need to find what music will call to the moment. I am grateful for years of experience, colleagues and friends I can ask for ideas, and a great supportive congregation who loves music.
With these blessings I shouldn’t really pull my hair out (or more honestly, get a bunch of gray) over repertoire planning. But by the end of July every year my internal alarm starts ringing strong…
“Remember all those great ideas you had, months ago, about getting ahead, about selecting great music by July 1?!? It didn’t happen, AGAIN!”
In reality, the big pieces – the challenging music, that has been in my ears, on my brain, and in my heart for months. This year it includes Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols with harp! But also the usual great arrangements by John Purifoy and Jean Berger, John Ferguson and John the Revelator (not actually arranged by John the Revelator! That’s a Caldwell and Ivory arrangement, I think.)
But no matter what, I am pushed to find great things not just ‘cause I need to challenge myself, though that’s a good reason. Not just ‘cause my choir is bored with our usual selection, really they’re not. Not just ‘cause the Pastor wants an “upbeat” anthem, a term I loathe (plus my Pastor doesn’t use that language). But because this is music for worship. Its place is to support the praise and thanksgiving of a loving and caring God, who, through us, works with those who are in need, those who hunger, those who are heavy laden down with burdens and hurt, and hopes, and fears.
We are coming before the creator of the universe to “Speak, O Lord” through us. We are to speak so that “truth prevail[s] over unbelief.” As you embark on the journey of repertoire selection, as you begin to engage with your singers, and your church lifts up its song in praise, take the time to choose the best, most meaningful pieces. It is what you are called to do in the church and in the world.
“Speak, O Lord” Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend, arranged by John Ferguson, MorningStar Music Publishers, 2005 and 2007.

Music in Worship – R & R Blog post – NCDA – September 2018
Jason M. Horner, M. Mus.; MSM, B.A. Mus.Ed.
Director of Music Ministries, St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Omaha, NE
Artistic Director, Lincoln Choral Artists, Lincoln, NE

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Having (more) fun at Choir rehearsal!

I sincerely hope that at every rehearsal singers enjoy, and even have fun, singing. So many people say that music lifts their soul and they feel better after having made music with others. We also work hard, trying to remove imperfection; trying to make music emotively and honestly. With this work can sometimes come a very serious attitude. This can be useful. We must always act professionally, treat each other with kindness, and be aware of each other in rehearsal. But that doesn't mean we can't have fun too! Here are some things we are doing this season to get to know each other, learn to care more about each other, and have FUN!

September 13 Fall Concert Rehearsal, ALMA MATER or Favorite Team Gear Day!


October 11 Fall Concert Rehearsal, Funny Hat, Tie, or scarf night! 

October 25 Fall Concert "Love is a Battlefield" Rehearsal, “Woo Your Lover” Night – we perform music for each other!

November 15 Holiday Concert Rehearsal, Comfort Food Night- Bring something to share during the break!

November 30, Holiday Concert Rehearsal, Ugly Christmas Sweater or Red and Green night!

February 14, Big Show Rehearsal, HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAYBring some food to share!

March 14, Spring Concert Rehearsal  – Wear you favorite Choral or Music Gear!

April 4, Spring Concert Rehearsal – Share a Bite Night! Bring a snack to share!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

New Season, New Friends, New Music

We are back! That's right, we have officially started the 2018-2019 Season here at Lincoln Choral Artists. I will try to put new blog content up every week. Here are some great things that have already begun.

We launched the Season Theme and Concert Themes a few weeks ago!

OCT 27
Love Is A Battlefield ConcertOur first concert of the 2018-19 is on October 27, 3pm at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Lincoln. We will be joined by the Sing Omaha Girls' and Boys' Choirs and their directors, Jen Hill and Mark Harman. This concert will feature folk songs, pop and gospel music, as well as some choral greats as we sing about the difficulties of relationships and the joys of our varied identities! Exploring the changing and progressing notions of gender and genders in the arts and society through music. An uplifting program of music for boys’, girls’, women’s and men’s as well as combined ensembles celebrating gender diversity.

DEC 13
A Renaissance Christmas of Hope and Expectation
Thursday, December 13 at 7:30 PM – 9:15 PM
This Holiday Concert will feature guest musicians along with the Lincoln Choral Artists in performing music of and inspired by the renaissance focusing on Seasonal Music at the gorgeous Westminster Church in Lincoln. Come and Enjoy beautiful music and atmosphere as you enjoy the holiday spirit and season. Celebrate the hope of the season with a Renaissance Christmas concert featuring a program to uplift throughout theages. Featuring special guest a cappella choir Dulces Voces and organist Dan Ahlin.
Lincoln Westminster Presbyterian Church2110 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln, Nebraska 68502

The Big Show: Joy and Inspiration
Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 12 AM – 11:59 PM
LCA’s annual special fundraising event is an evening ofjoy and inspiration with a program taken from the best ofmusical theatre from the past three decades. Support themission of LCA and enjoy a dynamic night of performancesfrom the ensemble plus special guests. Cash bar andappetizers included.
The Royal Grove340 West Cornhusker Highway, Lincoln, Nebraska 68521

MAY 19
Love and Longing
Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 4 PM – 6 PM
A program exploring romantic love featuring stringorchestra and harp as well as guest soloist RebeccaShane.
First United Methodist Church of Lincoln, Nebraska2723 N 50th St, Lincoln, Nebraska 68504

Last Thursday we invited some new friends to sing in the Choir. We are very excited to get to know these individuals and make music with them. We are still taking auditions for this season. Please check out www.lincolnchoralartists.org

I am also very excited for the fantastic new music we will be featuring on all of our concerts. In future blogs I will be breaking down each concert and talk about the significance of each piece, our guest music ensembles, and how the themes and ideas of Human Emotion move us and our world.