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Where Have All the Musicians Gone?

The shortage of church organists and pianists is increasing at an alarming rate. And, with fewer college students studying music, the shortage of musicians is expected to rise during the coming years. 

Churches are familiar with the shortage of volunteers for Sunday school teachers, custodians, and the like, but the dwindling supply of church musicians may be a surprise to many…until it hits their own congregation. 

It's not uncommon for churches to run advertisements looking for available musicians in their local paper or on paid Internet sites and even Craigslist. These ads can run week after week and month after month mostly going unanswered. One Methodist church in Gladstone, Missouri, resorted to hanging a large, brightly painted banner from the roof of their sanctuary in an attempt to fill their frantic need for musicians. 

Pastors say it is especially frustrating since music is such a critical component of the worship experience. When reading Colossians 3:16, they feel responsible to ensure that their congregations are nourished each week, not only the preaching and teaching of the word, but also by the singing of uplifting music: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish each other with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."

However, there is hope for the weary and musically downtrodden. There is a new weapon in the music arsenal that many pastors, churches, chaplains, and ministry organizations are discovering that is solving their shortage effectively and with impressive results. And, congregations are delighted with the new sound of joyous music filling their once-silent sanctuary.

One church on the beautiful island of Hawaii recently received their Hymnal PLUS digital hymnal and wrote to say, "We went to the church and hooked the Hymnal PLUS up to the sound system.  We all wept!  Thank you so much. This is indeed an answer to prayer. My pastor is so overjoyed, he prayed long and hard for an organist. He is 84 years old and had looked forward to hearing the beautiful sounds of the organ once again fill the church with wonderful hymns!"   

Like the chapel in Hawaii, other pastors have discovered the unique and easy to use Hymnal PLUS (HT-300na) digital hymnal. The Hymnal PLUS stores thousands and thousands of traditional hymns, choruses, praise music, plus wedding, graduation, memorial music, and kids' songs in its internal memory. This music can be played back with a myriad of incredibly authentic sounding instruments, as simple as piano or organ – or both – or add an expert rhythm section or even a full orchestra. You can choose the tempo, key, how many verses, and even add an "amen" cadence on the final verse. You may also choose to utilize a slight musical ritard during the last few measures. The HT-300na is also ready to serve in quieter ways, such as preludes, postludes, offertories, and altar call music.

Audley Scott, pastor of the Hillside Chapel on the Cayman Islands, is using his Digital Hymnal to solve nearly 100% of his weekly musical needs. He said, "I am happy to tell you how much my Hymnal PLUS has helped in my ministry. I have used it for weddings, preludes, communions services, and we also use it at our mid week prayer meetings. In short, it is the best money we have ever spent on any musical instrument."

Churches are also impressed with how easy the Hymnal PLUS is to operate, as it takes no musical, technical, or computer knowledge to operate. 

Some pastors might wonder how their congregations will react to using a Hymnal PLUS. Pastor Hazelroy Barnes said, "We have been using the Hymnal PLUS on Sunday mornings because we have no other form of musical instruments at present. It has been a real blessing and enhancement to our worship sessions. We are able to choose from wide variety of songs. Worship has been going great and the congregation is adjusting quite nicely."

Rev. Richard MacKinnon, of Richard MacKinnon Ministries, echoed, "I really enjoy helping pastors find a quality solution for their music needs. I have been a pastor for over 20 years, and I am very familiar with the challenges and struggles that come with trying to have quality music for church services. Being both the pastor and the music ministry leader in the churches I've served is what makes me appreciate the uniqueness and versatility of the Digital Hymnal." 

Pastor MacKinnon is currently using his Hymnal PLUS as the sole source of music at a new church plant near Salem, Massachusetts. 

"The fact that we have the Hymnal PLUS ready to go makes an incredible difference in terms of instant music and singing songs people know and love. Having good familiar music is especially necessary when planting a church. It doesn't seem like church without music. The better quality of music you have, the better spiritual experience people will have," he said. "The fact that the HT can integrate MIDI and mp3 files is very important. Not only will it do a super job for congregational singing and for choirs, but it also allows us to have quality accompaniment for solos and other special music. The Hymnal PLUS is so versatile – liturgical, traditional, or contemporary. If you want to sing with good music, the Hymnal PLUS is your answer."

For more information regarding the Hymnal PLUS, contact Tempe One at 1-800-403-0466 or visit them on the Web at www.TempoOne.com.

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Religious Product News