In Search of a 'Heart Song': Worship Music at Hope College
Dr. Julia Randel, Hope College
Marva Dawn, in her book, How shall we Worship?, suggests, “How we worship both reveals and forms our identity as persons and communities” (4). If it is true that how we worship reveals things about our identity as a community, while at the same time shaping it, how is the worship at Hope College helping to form the people as a community? Given that music is central to our mode of worship, what does the music reveal about us as a community? What effects have the dramatic changes in worship music at Hope had on the community over the last two decades? This research seeks to answer these questions through observation and interviews with current and past participants in worship music at Hope, including band leaders, band members, chaplains, and music faculty. It documents the dramatic shift from “traditional” to “contemporary” music, and the ways in which the chapel band’s style has continued to evolve since the change was made. In addition, it explores how band members and leaders see their roles as leaders of worship for the community. Close examination of some recent performances and recordings by the chapel band reveal how these ideas about worship, identity, and community are put into practice.
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