After a long season of listening to Adventures in Odyssey and Jungle Jam in the car, we have finally gotten back to listening to some good, old music. I had bought a CD several years ago that I resurrected. Not having heard it for quite a while, I was missing it. I played it over and over for several days, then changed to a different one. To my surprise, both of the kids requested I put the first one back in because they had enjoyed it that much. I was surprised because the next one I put in has usually been more to their liking in the past.
This got me to thinking about music and the types of music that I like, and particularly, the types of voices that I love.
I like some contemporary Christian music, some choir music, some bluesy-black-soul music, the occasional (.....very occasional, I might add) hip hop song, some country music, and Southern Gospel. In fact, the older I get, the more I love Southern Gospel - at least the tight harmony, non-honky Southern Gospel anyway.
Being the analytical-type of person that I am, I have to ask myself what it is about someone's singing that I like or dislike. There are a lot of voices that I admire greatly for their technical ability, for example Mariah Carey. Not many can touch her vocal gymnastics. However, I am one who has always appreciated the beauty in vocal simplicity as well, so I get very tired of the vocal back-flips when they're overdone. And I believe Mariah Carey, just to mention one, overdoes it. Celine Dion, on the other hand, does not. She can sing sweetly, softly, simply, gymnasticy, powerfully - crescendoing to beautiful heights - and ending brilliantly, all in one song.
I love the singers who understand this - that it's not all about their ability. In fact, I would much prefer a simple singer over a technically great singer who doesn't understand the beauty of simplicity.
The CD my kids fell in love with and which I have always loved is Joni Ayn Clark. I had the privilege of meeting her and hearing her in person many moons ago. She is the "Celine Dion" of Christian music, in my opinion. She sweetly draws you in and leaves you wanting to hear the next vocal "lick". More than all of that, she is annointed. And to a Christian, annointing is the most important aspect of singing.
I want to end this post by paying tribute to a few of my very favorite, local singers. I happen to think that our district - for how small it is, and our own church has some very great vocal talent. I am not writing this to embarrass anyone, simply to tell them I appreciate their contribution to singing and allowing God to use them by annointing their talents.
I have to start with my own niece, Melissa. She recently sang The Prayer at a wedding and SLAYED the song. This is a Celine Dion song - not just anyone can sing a Celine song - and she more than did it justice. I love, love, love her voice. I also love my oldest niece's voice, Amanda, but unfortunately she uses her vocal talents mainly as back-up, focusing more her incredible piano playing ability. I do believe, however, she would be phenomenal as well if she were to ever sing more lead vocals.
In our district, the standouts are Amy - I love the sweetness and purity of her voice; Becky - I do not get to hear her half enough, but I love her husky alto voice and always have; and how can I not include Misty - the voice I miss, but love - singing to beautiful heights untouched by others.
And last - but certainly not least - is Vren. How I love you AND your voice! Your spirit! Your annointing!
It's not easy to balance vocal ability, artistry, simplicity and humility - and I love you all for your ability to do it.
This might seem like a different post. But while I had it on my heart to write it, I did. God bless you all.