About the Music for 2013
The music chosen and composed by the WDP France Committee for WDP 2013 is in the tradition of European “high church” music. It utilizes traditional instruments and choirs, as well as a capella harmonies. If you purchase the music CD, you may want to listen with your eyes closed and imagine the large, old stone church buildings of France. The CD also contains several instrumental pieces with the same traditional sound. These songs could be played during the gathering time before your service begins to set the tone.
In addition to familiar styles and sounds, you will also find some traditional melodies among the music the WDP France Committee has chosen. “Psaume 100” (Psalm 100), not printed here but recorded on the CD, might be familiar to you as the tune of some churches’ doxology. The benediction song, “Que La Grâce,” or May God’s Blessing, might also be a familiar tune to you. If this is the case, try singing one verse in French! The children’s song, “Alléluia, Alléluia,” is sung to the very familiar tune of the children’s song “Frère Jacques.” Try singing it in a round or with some of the other languages. This song is not only for children, feel free to incorporate it in worship with adults too!
The style of simple, contemplative French church music that has become popular around the world is known as Taizé. This music comes from the Taizé Community, a community of religious brothers from Catholic and protestant denominations who have taken vows as monks. The work of the Taizé Community began in the 1940s when Brother Roger, the order’s founder, moved from Switzerland to Taizé, France to build a refuge for those trying to escape WWII. The legacy of the Taizé brothers now is in the style of contemplative worship they have made popular. Every week young people from many different countries come to Taizé to participate in this style of worship, welcomed by the Sisters of Saint Andrew, Polish Ursuline Sisters and Sisters of St Vincent de Paul.
Some churches in the US, inspired by the Taizé style and its popularity among young people, have begun holding Taizé services on weeknights or other times during the week. The elements of the service include setting up a contemplative space with low lighting and candles, sharing leadership, group reflections on Bible texts, times of silence, and of course, the Taizé style of meditative singing. [the following quote could go here or be offset in the page somewhere]
“Singing is one of the most essential elements of worship. Short songs, repeated again and again, give it a meditative character. Using just a few words they express a basic reality of faith, quickly grasped by the mind. As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God. It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer together and to remain together in attentive waiting on God, without having to fix the length of time too exactly.” (http://www.taize.fr/en_article338.html)
Taizé songs are short so that the singers may easily pick them up, and often include harmonies. Try singing them over and over again, maybe 6 or 7 times. In the WDP France Committee’s worship service, lines of simple Taizé song are used as responses to prayers or litanies. You may want to teach the songs to your group before the service starts so that everyone is comfortable singing when the time comes. The Taizé Community has posted music and recordings for many of their songs on their website at http://www.taize.fr/en_article10308.html. You can visit www.taize.fr/en to learn more about Taizé.