Today I had the first church “gig” since a long time. I haven’t been too happy with my singing for some time, or maybe it is that I don’t sing in that setting so often anymore, that I get too nervous, and I don’t think I have enough control of my voice to hide it enough. That kind of sucks.But I’m sure I’ll get over it if I just sing more.
In Swedish churches, some kind of solo music (or sometimes a choir) in the Sunday morning service is very common. The very typical event is a young pretty girl singing pretty songs accompanied on the piano. Although they sound good, it is… boring. Well at least when it sounds the same EVERY Sunday. I’m sure God likes variation too and that also other music styles and other musical instruments can be used to praise God.
I must say though, that my church isn’t the typical one. We have both young girls with pianos, a gospel choir, a children’s choir, and elderly singers. So there is some variation. But that’s not the norm in the typical Swedish church.
Yes I know that the music in church is about the message and not the style, but I, as a music geek, like variation.
I don’t remember how I was involved in the singing in church. I think it was after it had become known in my church that Daniel and myself played music together, and suddenly I was asked to do it. From maybe 2006 until 2012 (not counting the year when we lived in Ireland) we’d sing in church maybe twice or three times a year, and I know at least the elderly really appreciate hearing those old songs that the other younger people (or anyone else, for that matter) don’t sing, and to hear guitar and mandolin. Many say that it’s so nice to hear something different, I can totally relate to that, and it has always been a goal for me to get an opportunity to take bluegrass gospel into church.
I really love music, bluegrass in particular, and I love that I can combine my love for the music with doing something for God. I want my music to be a way to spread the gospel and inspire people with the good news, and not a kind of achievement.
But then in 2012 I injured my wrist and couldn’t play the guitar or the mandolin for a long time. It just happened that I stopped singing for a long time. It’s not as fun without an instrument.
Although I’m back on track at least with playing the guitar, I haven’t managed to get back to singing regularly, so the last few times I’ve sung in church I’ve been so unhappy with my singing. Today it finally felt (at least) quite ok, and I’m inspired to sing more and get back to the shape I was in when we lived in Ireland.
And on Thursday we’re going to sing at Daniel’s grandma’s funeral. It will be a very small and simple service, with mostly us from the family, so I’ve stopped being nervous about it. We’re going to do “Will the circle be unbroken”, a bluegrass standard, a song I’m very familiar with, and a style I’m very familiar with. And I always do better when I have Daniel with me. Maybe I’m more relaxed then.
The last few times I’ve sung in church, including today, I’ve realized something. When I sing bluegrass-ish songs I sing so much better. It’s like I’m so much more confident with that than with other music styles. Sometimes, like today, I sing more folky songs, or hymns, today I sang an Advent hymn and another hymn but with another version than people are used to. But no matter how much I had practiced the others, Amazing Grace sounded so much better.
It’s not strange, because bluegrass is what made me start playing music, it is my great love. And the style I most often sing with other people is bluegrass. Quite often I sing old Swedish songs in church but when it fits the song I sing them with a bluegrass touch. Then Daniel comes with me too, he plays the guitar and I play the mandolin.
I’ve actually decided to try to stick with bluegrass and oldtime gospel style as much as I can, because that’s what I’m good at (well not compared to other people but compared to other stuff I sing) and it is something I’m confident in, and something nobody else in my church will sing.
We have so many brilliant musicians and singers in my church that I sort of want to do “my thing”, to not fall into the trap of comparing myself with others, and “my thing” is bluegrass and the likes.