I have little musical talent, but years of flute lessons, playing in band and orchestra, and listening to great music have taught me a few things.
Some rare musicians can take a standard work and build a variation on it, but few are capable. Thus we have the standard singing of the National Anthem, roughly translated as:
Oh whoa say can you sah-ee?
BYE-ya the dawn's earl-ee latt?
I can tell the Star Spangled Banner will be assaulted yet again, two notes into the effort, when another Country Western wannabee launches into the song. Simply singing it as written would require far more talent and discipline than howling the lyrics.
Many are captivated by the sound of their own voices and the effect of their hog-calling over a 10,000 watt sound system, so they muff the words. They want to squeeze all the drama out of
the lan-yand of the FREE-EEEEEEEE!
Creating a second syllable for free and going up a notch can be an excellent chance to display the flaws of the human voice.
Confusing "land of the free" with "home of the brave" turns torture into a rout. That happens often with the CW version of the Anthem.
Misled by Robert Schuller, many young seminarians imagine that a dramatic benediction will have more meaning for everyone.
Every minister has been lulled into listening to himself and thinking, "Boy I sound good today." Usually memorable mistakes come from that lapse. Or they may think ahead to lunch and give this famous benediction, never forgotten. Making the sign of the cross, Carl Lawrenz intoned, "Come Lord Jesus, be our Guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed." People still chuckle over that.
I was watching the end of a service when a Mequonite launched into a Schulleresque benediction. He was transported with joy as he drew upon the potential of each sound, as in the Loooooord buh-LESS you... He became hopelessly lost on the third clause and ended his performance in dismay and confusion.
Performance liturgy makes badly educated seminarians think they can make the Word of God more relevant by their delivery. They draw attention to themselves and flame out. The fundamental flaw is their implicit denial of the efficacy of the Word. No wonder many think that strutting around the chancel during the sermon or rushing the audience (as in tennis) will improve their delivery.
Jeske's New Age rock band, Koine, is being heavily promoted across the Wisconsin and Missouri sects. They play upbeat versions of hymns.
Playing a hymn as written, at the proper tempo, is the great challenge for church musicians. Lutherans should find it ironic that a tiny college needs an $8 million cathedral for proper Word and Sacrament worship training, yet imports a rock band to entertain the troops.
Like the felonies noted above, the rock version of a hymn draws attention to the performance rather than the Word of God content.