Songs to savour
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Songs to savour

In my recent essay, here in Christian Courier, I reflected on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the music – particularly Christian music – I have been collecting across the years. If I could bypass these pandemic days and invite you to our house, you could see amid the hundreds of records and hundreds…

Songs of longing
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Songs of longing

How can Christians celebrate Christmas without singing?! In my own congregation, in a survey seeking wisdom on whether, when and how to worship in person again, one person confessed, “I’m not a good singer, but that is what I miss the most.” That comment touched my heart. God loves to hear our praises, and our…

On stage in a dangerous time

On stage in a dangerous time

In Christmases past, our December calendars were decorated with the dates of school Christmas concerts and community choir cantatas. This year, there will be considerably less live music heralding the good news. But many of us felt this void long before Advent. In a normal year, according to Stats Canada, 81 percent of Canadians would…

Not Allowed to Sing in Church? Maybe That’s a Good Thing
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Not Allowed to Sing in Church? Maybe That’s a Good Thing

There are no rollicking versions of “Way Maker” or thoughtful renditions of “O Come to the Altar” blasting over the sound systems of most churches these days. Health officials have banned corporate singing in many areas for how it can spread COVID-19, as it did at a single choir practice of 61 people in Washington, which resulted…

Leonard Cohen’s legacy: Common grace marches on
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Leonard Cohen’s legacy: Common grace marches on

It took Cohen’s long-time backup singer, Jennifer Warnes’ often eerie, haunting, sometimes reverential 1986 tribute album, Famous Blue Raincoat to draw me into Cohen’s fold. Even then, though, I remained comfortably on its margins. Then came Ten New Songs in 2001, co-written and produced by Sharon Robinson. That was the first pure Cohen CD I bought – but not till 2004. I was hooked, gaffed, pulled up on deck and captured alive for the next 13 years.