A Significant Church Music Institute

Church music institute for the Lake Union Conference was held at Em­manuel Missionary College, Berrien Springs, Michigan, August 2-5, 1935.

By Carlyle R. Haynes

Church music institute for the Lake Union Conference was held at Em­manuel Missionary College, Berrien Springs, Michigan, August 2-5, 1935. This institute was held under the authority and with the approval of the Lake Union Conference committee. By invitation it brought together the choristers, leaders, organists, pianists, vocalists, instru­mentalists, and teachers of music serving our churches, Sabbath schools, Missionary Volun­teer Societies, evangelistic efforts, and schools in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan.

I have attended many institutes, conventions, and conferences. I do not know that I recall any that approached its objectives more directly and vigorously than this one, or any that reached conclusions calculated to correct more effectively the things that need changing, or to improve more intelligently the things that need strengthening in our musical activities and practices.

There was a serious, earnest purpose mani­fest by these specialists in music throughout the entire time of the institute. They had come to discuss fundamental principles, to correct abuses, to improve their efficiency. They drove straight to their objectives, without trifling or delay. There was a striking unanimity of opinion on major matters that was heartening to some of us who have been sighing and cry­ing for a long time because of the musical abominations which have sometimes been per­mitted to find a place in our services of wor­ship.

It was a source of more than usual satisfac­-ticin to have this institute under the lea-d-erSliip of one whose qualifications are of the highest, an authority in the world of sacred music, whose long study and training and experience make his conclusions those of a recognized ex­pert, and one at the same time who is not only acquainted with our own work, but is sound in our doctrines and loyal to our faith, Professor Oliver S. Beltz, head of the Department of Church and Choral Music of Northwestern 'Uni­versity. Professor Beltz gave daily lectures, and presented papers and answered questions of such a fundamental and foundational char­acter that my chief regret through the entire institute was that these things could not be made fully available to all our people, particu­larly to our whole staff of ministerial workers.

His paper covering general principles has been printed in full in the Review. There was much else from him, however, of very great value.

Lack of knowledge, lack of right standards, and just plain indifference have allowed to come into our churches during recent years, a great amount of questionable music which should have no place in the church of God. Ministers are not alone to blame for this. These musicians confessed to carelessness and wrong standards on their part. But they determined with one accord to bring an end to these dis­tressing conditions wherever they could. And their recommendations all tend in this most helpful direction.

Searching consideration was given to the question as to whether music is in the church for display and to parade talent and technique, or to express worship; whether music of the church or music of the world is to be used for the church; whether worldly love songs, dances, jingles, jazz, syncopated music, and romances should be allowed a place in God's house; whether difference was to be made between holy and profane, clean and unclean, sacred and secular, in music; and whether, when those who provide music in God's house are not suffi­ciently enlightened or adequately intelligent, or loyal to right standards, to do this, it would not be entirely justifiable to ask them to step aside for those who are.

All present, following the discussion of these matters, seemed to be agreed that if the offer­ing of strange fire in Gods sanctuary was pun­ished with death, if offering swine's flesh on God's altars was accounted horrible pollution, frthe men of rsraerwere compelled to put away their heathen wives in Nehemiah's time; then we, too, are certainly responsible for making a clean-cut distinction between the fantasies, ro­mances, and extravaganzas sometimes born in the libidinous dreams of alcohol-besotted brains of libertine minstrels and troubadours, and the magnificent, soul-stirring psalms and religious music and hymns of the ages.

It was pointed out that the time was, in the church, when only the Psalms were used for music. This had much to commend it. Then spiritual hymns, born of deep experience, were produced. These never grow old. It would be profitable if far more attention were given to the religious character and significance and possibilities of the music of the church.

Papers were presented at the institute not only by Professor Beltz, but also by F. R. Isaac, educational secretary of the Lake Union Con­ference; H. B. Hannum, professor of music in Emmanuel Missionary College; J. H. Metzger, choral and orchestra leader; V. P. Lovell, prin­cipal of Indiana Academy; Miss Inis Morey, Sabbath school secretary of the Illinois Confer­ence; Alvin F. Brightbill, of the Bethany Theo­logical Seminary, Chicago; M. E. Serns, choral director; Alyse Swedberg, teacher of piano; Harvey R. Davies, in charge of music at Cedar Lake Academy; T. W. Rhodes, in charge of music at Bethel Academy; Donald F. Haynes and Raleigh Burchfield, choristers. Demon­strations accompanied by papers were given by Mildred Ostoich and Ella Sabo in church school music instruction.

Sleeping accommodations and meals were fur­nished by Emmanuel Missionary College at the cost of the meals alone. The price of registra­tion was $1. The meeting place was the college chapel. The general recommendations embody­ing the conclusions of the institute are as fol­lows:

Recommendations From Convention Committee

"Believing that music is one of the choicest gifts of heaven, and one of the most effective means of moving and lifting the hearts of men and preparing them for God's occupancy, we, the music leaders, teachers, singers, and instru­mentalists of the churches, conferences, and schools of the Lake Union Conference of Sev­enth-day Adventists, gathered at the first Church Music Institute of which we have record in the denomination, held at Emmanuel Missionary College, Berrien Springs, Michigan, August 2-5, 1935, place ourselves on record in the following recommendations for the purpose of making more effective the gracious ministry of music:

"1. We recommend, That all who serve this cause in any musical capacity whatever, recog­nize that music is used in connection with the gospel for no purpose other than the glorifica­tion of the divine, never for the glorification of the human; that, therefore, any manner or gesture or device or conduct connected with it, employed for the purpose of attracting atten­tion to the musician or leader, in order to dis­play his talent, skill, or ability, is a prostitution of music to a use not sanctioned by God; that only as we use music in the way designed by God and for the objectives sanctioned by Him can we expect Him to bless it in the large way which is most certainly needed today.

"2. Recognizing that music has a cultural value, that it has an eminent place as one of the finest arts, that it has value as a method of training in skill, accuracy, and discipline, nevertheless, we believe its use in services and worship is not for the purpose of raising our average of culture, or our appreciation of artis­tic values, or to increase and enlarge our tech­nical skill: but that all these are secondary in importance to its qualifications as an agency, a means, to deepen worship and advance spirit­ual experience; that music is employed in the church, not for art's sake, but for religion's sake, for the soul's sake, for the contribution it can make in realizing the church's essential objectives, the salvation of men, and the build­ing up of spiritual life.

"3. We appeal for greater care, finer dis­crimination, higher standards, and a deeper spiritual judgment in all church and evangel­istic music, and request our leaders and players to avoid the worldly, the light, the popular, in their selections, restricting ourselves to that which supplies the soul's need, and which is essentially religious and worthy; and we recom­mend that our pianists, organists, and other in­strumentalists select only the best and finest religious music for use as preludes, interludes, offertories, and postludes."

Lansing, Mich.

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By Carlyle R. Haynes

November 1935

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