April 2013: Adventures in Good Music

Recently while writing my sermon, I was listening to music on my iPhone. For the past few weeks, I have been listening to music as I write. Maybe it helps, maybe not! The music keeps me company, but is not as distracting as watching television or writing in a public place where crowd noise might totally divert my attention. Anyway, I digress!

As I was writing, Piano Sonata #8 in C Minor, Op. 13, “Sonata Pathetique: II. Adagio cantabile by Beethoven came on. I had a feeling that I had heard that piece before. When I placed the piece, I was immediately transported back to my childhood, some 35-40 years ago! I remember that sonata as the theme to a classical radio program called Adventures in Good Music. My mother used to listen to that on 96.5 KXTR, the old classical radio station in Kansas City. I remember that Adventures in Good Music came on the air around noon each day. It was a stopping point during the day and occasionally my mother (and I) would listen as the host taught us about a particular composer or piece of music. As I graduated from college and went out to lunch around the noon hour, often I would listen to the program as well.

By 2013, I assumed that the show was long since buried in some dusty archives somewhere. I knew that the host was a German American with an accent, but I had forgotten his name. I also assumed that he, like his program, was long since gone and forgotten. I was surprised to find many references to the man and his program which aired daily from 1959 to 2002. The host of the show was Karl Haas and he dearly loved what he did as he would actively search for music to entertain and educate his listeners. In part for his work as creator and host of radio’s longest running daily classical music program, in 1997 Haas was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
As I read about Dr. Haas and reminisced about listening to that program, I became more fully aware of the importance of music in life. It might be hearing a few notes of a sonata that transport you back in time. It might be humming a hymn tune that reminds you of your faith. Or it might be whistling a tune that helps brighten your day, which is one way we know Don Lambert is in the building!

Whether your favorite style is country, big band, blues, rock and roll, reggae or jazz, I am impressed at how all music has an almost unique ability to transform, stir emotion and inspire. Music can simply help us pass the time in entertainment. But it can also minister to us in a time of need. It can spur us on to act on a thought or accomplish what’s before us. It can recall memories and rekindle long buried feelings. And, of course, it can enhance our worship of God. David even encourages us in offering our talents in Psalm 33 where he opens the psalm with “Sing joyfully to the Lord…”

Beautiful music can set the mood for the season as it does for many of us at Christmas time –prompting the Christmas Spirit. And it can inspire us as it did yesterday in our celebration of Easter and the resurrection of our Lord. Fresh off of our worship on Easter Sunday, I am grateful for the trombone quartet that helped lead our worship yesterday. Their playing added much to our worship. I am also especially grateful for the music and leadership of Jeff, Elizabeth and our choir. They work hard each week to provide beautiful music that inspires our worship and can transport us to greater heights.

As we continue on now in the season of Easter, may music find greater meaning in your life.

— Pastor Bill

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