Preaching and composing

July 21, 2008

Roger Bourland, Jr. photo by RB, III
Daniel and I spent the past four days in Phoenix, Arizona visiting my parents and seeing their new home. They love their new home and are healthy I’m happy to report. We were fortunate to hear my Dad give a sermon. He’s not lost his touch. It was great to hear him whip up the congregation with his terrific message. The congregation stood in line at the end of the service to greet my parents, welcome them back, and give a standing offer to come back and visit any time.

I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between his career and my own. His sermons have moved many people over the years. H/we may not be household names, but those who know us have valued our work and gifts. A powerful sermon and an effective piece of music can touch a person for a day — like a good meal, sometimes for their whole life. Ministers are usually not trained or encouraged to pursue being world famous. Composers are told in no uncertain terms that they are competing with Beethoven. I have always told my students that one can have a fulfilling life NOT being world-famous, and working in a community of their choice, teaching, collaborating, and providing music for your community. After all, most of the so-called classical composers that we we venerate and call world-famous, were not world-famous during their day. They provided music for their communities, and that was good enough.

[Photo of Roger Bourland, Jr. taken this weekend by his son (me), Roger Bourland, III.]

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