Sing it Over Again...
One of the things I enjoyed about my position as publisher of Creator magazine is that I g0t to see most of the new church choral anthems that were published each year in the process of assembling the Select 20 anthem reviews for each issue of the magazine and, of course, on the website. It is a love/hate enjoyment, because, while I look at thousands of pieces in a year, it is a time consuming job, and sometimes not a lot of fun...among other things, our recycle bin is often overflowing.
I've been doing this since I purchased the magazine in 1997, and it has been interesting to see the changes that have taken place in the last 17 years. Here are a few general observations:
• The influence of the "worship choir" movement has changed how publishers think about what a "choral" anthem is exactly.
• The perceived erosion in the number (and "worth"-iness) of "choirs" in churches means that more companies are competing for fewer and fewer dollars.
• The erosion in the number of "full service" independent print music stores, and the consolidation of those that remain in the hands of just a few owners, mean that fewer and fewer people control what is "acceptable" to sell.
• The erosion in the number of "bankable" composers, and the fact that they see each other (and each other's tunes) on a regular basis at reading sessions, mean that fewer and fewer people understand what is "acceptable" to write for maximum sales. (See the two bullet points above to understand the endless circle of incestuous-ness that prevails in the industry right now.)
• The now standard practice of marketing new choral music through the production of demo recordings means that most choir directors now pick music on the basis of what they "hear" (especially production values) rather than what is on the printed page, or what is relevant to their particular situation.
• The increasingly standard practice of using the demo recordings as models and teaching tools in lieu of rehearsal means that most choir directors now treat the recording as the "sacred" end rather than teaching musicality and musicianship and making independent artistic decisions. (See the last bullet point to understand the endless circle of mediocrity that prevails in worship music right now.)
What's your experience?
© 2014, 2021 All Rights Reserved