Missionaries Who Need Music in Minutes

A local Atlanta newscast regularly boasts that it will provide “all the headlines and tomorrow’s forecast in the first five minutes.” I don’t know if you need your news freeze-dried and shrink-wrapped like that, but I do still hear that busy missionaries don’t really have the time to spend seven hours or more a week working with sequencers, sound modules and MIDI files in an effort to have some decent music for the weekend worship service. Necessity being the mother of invention, I also understand that, in the absence of a living, breathing keyboardist, there are many who adapt to their situations, combine their knowledge and skills with available software and hardware, and come up with something that works for worship music. Much like the way I always follow my favorite route to the airport, we tend to stick with something like that (even if something easier, faster, or better were out there somewhere), because it is what we know and because it works. Would it catch anyone’s attention if, with nothing more than a monitor and a mouse, all the critical musical selections for any service in the Christian Worship series could be ready to go in five minutes (and on a scale of 1-10 their sound quality was 7 or better)?

Those who wish to set up tracks, channels, volume, velocity and instrument patches in MIDI files will still be able to do so when our publishing house releases replacement software for HymnSoft. Additionally, however, there will also be a release of approximately 3300 copyrighted MP3 files, representing everything NPH has published in the way of liturgy, hymnody and psalmody since 1993, through and including Christian Worship: Supplement. 795 hymn files, 114 psalm files and 191 liturgy files combine to total 1100 mp3 files. Multiply that times three, since there are three versions to accommodate every kind of preference and worship space room size/acoustical environment: digital organ with flute melody, virtual pipe organ and digital grand piano.

Here’s an example of piano only.
Here’s one that is organ and flute.

Should it be that you do not consider I-tunes a user-friendly application, find a willing seventh grader and your worship playlist can be assembled in five minutes. If need be, that same seventh grader can “push buttons” to run the music during the service. (Unchecking the songs in an I-tunes playlist will prevent the program from autoadvancing to play the next song.) Burn a playlist to disk for a nursing home or off-site or outdoor service. Rather than turn this article into a tutorial, screenshots and music samples can be reviewed by clicking the links.Click here for screen shot

It would always be my preference to make use of the Lord’s blessing of a live instrumentalist rather than a digital file as music serves as the living voice of the gospel, but if you’re still waiting patiently for that blessing or you have more than a few Sundays when the one blessing you have can’t be with you on a weekend, help is on the way.

Rev. Michael Schultz

Michael Schultz serves as the Project Director of the new WELS Hymnal Project.

Full biography »