Life Full Voice

Some of you may remember Lori Lewis who occasionally has frequented this blog.  At one point she was all involved in radio and contemporary Christian music, but then she became a confessional Lutheran and an outspoken critic of that musical scene.  More recently she has gotten involved with opera, both as a singer and as a popularizer of that artform via radio and writing.  Her latest project, though, is a webzine entitled  Eveyday Opera.  It’s not  about opera; rather, it uses opera as a metaphor for what she describes in the site’s slogan as “Life Full Voice.”  Here is how she described it to me:

A little over 2 years ago I started Everyday Opera out of the need to find a platform for my own art.
I had gone through a down time but out of it grew this idea…Making Classic Art an Everyday Event.
Personality driven, non intimidating, but with the theory that Art lifts us in our everyday experience.  In a culture full of junk food, and I eat plenty of my share, I’m a mini-evangelist for expanding one’s horizon’s.
Opera is the metaphor here for living Live Full Voice. That is how an Opera Singer sings…Full Voice
We encourage the thinking that all of life can be lived Full Voice, whether you are a great singer,
a great chef, wine maker, farmer, mother, teacher, and on and on. (Isn’t it really modeled after
The Spirituality of the Cross? The book that help me be free as a christian to be free as a person.)

Kind words about my book.  She makes an interesting connection between Christian freedom through the Gospel, personal freedom, and vocation.  Anyway,   Eveyday Opera has articles about travel, food, art, literature, wine, music, and other pleasures of life.  It doesn’t get into theology, as such, though I’d say it has a Christian view of the world, though many Christians have arguably hung back from living life “full voice.”  (Why is that, do you think?  Do you agree that Christians are freed to appreciate things like these?)

Anyway, Lori has enlisted me to write for the site occasionally, so I wrote a piece on literary style that I’ll link to in a separate post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    The gospel ‘full voice’ is a liberating doctrine. What many may consider guilty pleasures are occasions for celebrating the gospel. A thank-full, joy-full, peace-full journey through life is one where there is no fear of ‘expanding horizons’.

  • http://www.caryschwarz.com saddler

    The gospel ‘full voice’ is a liberating doctrine. What many may consider guilty pleasures are occasions for celebrating the gospel. A thank-full, joy-full, peace-full journey through life is one where there is no fear of ‘expanding horizons’.

  • Joanne

    I have a good friend who has a trained operatic voice. She’s petite, so when we and others who know her attend an event where she is singing in “Full Voice” it shocks us to hear such loud and beautiful sound from such a small person. Because she often sang in the choir at the New Orleans Opera, and even a few time got parts to sing, she would always get free season tickets for two people. Whenever she asked me to come along to the Mahalia Jackson Theater to use one of her free tickets, I dropped whatever plans I had and went. This friend has moved now half-a-world away, and I miss her and that entree into a world of musicians. Often after concerts, especially after singing in the “paid professional” choir at the New Orleans Episcopal cathedral, we’d all go out for lunch together and I’d notice from their lunch selections and their conversation how little they were paid and how penury stalked most of them.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDJZa7pp80g
    This is a link to Renee Fleming singing Mozart liturgical music, in Full Voice. I have another friend who lived in Houston for several years while her husband worked at the Johnson Space Center. She invited us every opera season to attend the Houston Grand Opera where we did see Renee Fleming in Verdi’s LaTraviata. Because my mother is disabled and was in a wheelchair, there was a special place for us to sit on the left front row and saw Ms. Fleming very up close in a chaisse lounge scene.
    We always went to Sunday matinees, but still we felt like country cousins come to the big city. We always went early enough to take in the lecture about the opera given in a side hall. We learned there to notice that the opera singers would always be careful not to sing directly into the ear of another, because a Full Voice can be very painful directly into an ear.
    I am like opera like I am about football. I love to go to performances and to the games, but I don like just the audio or the video. I’m not an opera buff, but I loved going to the opera and watching real people using wonderfully trained voices make impossibly loud and beautiful sound, and I loved the rediculously romantic stories.
    Pucini’s Madama Butterfly was the first opera I’d ever seen, again with friends who went regularly to the Met in New York and wanted me to fly up and go with them. My friends and I couldn’t afford the nights when the principles were world renowned, we got the new singers, and our seats were up in the nose bleed area. Actually all I saw on stage were the tops of the singers heads. I’ve learned I’m not a Pucini fan. They are great operas, but it’s hard to rememger or hum any melodies from them afterwards, excusing “Un bell’ di” from Butterfly.
    Now some points I’d like to make. An operatic voice is for singing operas. It doesn’t work in oratorios or church music. Notice how much like a CoWo situation this video of Ms. Fleming performing a Mozart liturgcal composition. She is singing in operatic full voice and it’s just not right for the music. We need an oratorio voice for this. The only difference between a CoWo and this concert is the music style. The litugy is being sung for the purpose of entertainment, not conversaton from and with God. It’s sung in a church with the musicans as the stars and focus and reason. Can you see the Episcopal boychoir sitting behind Ms. Fleming just out of the spotlight?
    This is obviously a paid concert by a specially desired singer. This is not meant to be a religious service, even though all the trappings are religious. But, how little would have to change to make this either a religious concert, or a CoWo.
    I’ve attended 4 synodical schools, and was in the choir at all of them. I understand very well what a sacred concert is. Primarily, it’s no clapping becaue we are singing first to God and then to the angels, and then to the people of God in a service. The purpose is to sing the Word and build the Faith of those in attendance. A sacred concert might have a little bit of liturgical form at the beginning and at the end, and it just as well might not, even though the pieces in the concert follow the themes of the liturgy and the church year. But a musical concert never takes the place of the full liturgical service on Sunday. It’s just too limited for that. You can have the choir chant all the liturgical parts that the congregation usually chants during a full service on Sunday morning, that is actually quite common around the world, but what they sing is still on that worship train we call the liturgy. It starts and it stops and there are lots of parts, chanted by different participants. Some things are changeable, and some are not.
    I’m also not ignorant of the musical offerings of the American Sectarian churches, either. What I see discribed as CoWo is to my ear, sectarian music done using the Rock Music Style with very little talent, but great emotion. It is church music done with a Rock concert or a bar room voice. It just doesn’t fit. And where everything is an electrically amplificated “full voice.”
    My ears can’t go it, and when my Lutheran pastor schedules Baptist altar call hymns for our communion hymns, my heart can’t take it.
    We have an agreement now, that he will email me when it is safe to come to church. I reminded him of it once, and we waved me off becaue he was having another sectarian musical experience for the staid ole Lutherans. He hasn’t yet sent me an email telling me it would be safe to attend.

  • Joanne

    I have a good friend who has a trained operatic voice. She’s petite, so when we and others who know her attend an event where she is singing in “Full Voice” it shocks us to hear such loud and beautiful sound from such a small person. Because she often sang in the choir at the New Orleans Opera, and even a few time got parts to sing, she would always get free season tickets for two people. Whenever she asked me to come along to the Mahalia Jackson Theater to use one of her free tickets, I dropped whatever plans I had and went. This friend has moved now half-a-world away, and I miss her and that entree into a world of musicians. Often after concerts, especially after singing in the “paid professional” choir at the New Orleans Episcopal cathedral, we’d all go out for lunch together and I’d notice from their lunch selections and their conversation how little they were paid and how penury stalked most of them.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDJZa7pp80g
    This is a link to Renee Fleming singing Mozart liturgical music, in Full Voice. I have another friend who lived in Houston for several years while her husband worked at the Johnson Space Center. She invited us every opera season to attend the Houston Grand Opera where we did see Renee Fleming in Verdi’s LaTraviata. Because my mother is disabled and was in a wheelchair, there was a special place for us to sit on the left front row and saw Ms. Fleming very up close in a chaisse lounge scene.
    We always went to Sunday matinees, but still we felt like country cousins come to the big city. We always went early enough to take in the lecture about the opera given in a side hall. We learned there to notice that the opera singers would always be careful not to sing directly into the ear of another, because a Full Voice can be very painful directly into an ear.
    I am like opera like I am about football. I love to go to performances and to the games, but I don like just the audio or the video. I’m not an opera buff, but I loved going to the opera and watching real people using wonderfully trained voices make impossibly loud and beautiful sound, and I loved the rediculously romantic stories.
    Pucini’s Madama Butterfly was the first opera I’d ever seen, again with friends who went regularly to the Met in New York and wanted me to fly up and go with them. My friends and I couldn’t afford the nights when the principles were world renowned, we got the new singers, and our seats were up in the nose bleed area. Actually all I saw on stage were the tops of the singers heads. I’ve learned I’m not a Pucini fan. They are great operas, but it’s hard to rememger or hum any melodies from them afterwards, excusing “Un bell’ di” from Butterfly.
    Now some points I’d like to make. An operatic voice is for singing operas. It doesn’t work in oratorios or church music. Notice how much like a CoWo situation this video of Ms. Fleming performing a Mozart liturgcal composition. She is singing in operatic full voice and it’s just not right for the music. We need an oratorio voice for this. The only difference between a CoWo and this concert is the music style. The litugy is being sung for the purpose of entertainment, not conversaton from and with God. It’s sung in a church with the musicans as the stars and focus and reason. Can you see the Episcopal boychoir sitting behind Ms. Fleming just out of the spotlight?
    This is obviously a paid concert by a specially desired singer. This is not meant to be a religious service, even though all the trappings are religious. But, how little would have to change to make this either a religious concert, or a CoWo.
    I’ve attended 4 synodical schools, and was in the choir at all of them. I understand very well what a sacred concert is. Primarily, it’s no clapping becaue we are singing first to God and then to the angels, and then to the people of God in a service. The purpose is to sing the Word and build the Faith of those in attendance. A sacred concert might have a little bit of liturgical form at the beginning and at the end, and it just as well might not, even though the pieces in the concert follow the themes of the liturgy and the church year. But a musical concert never takes the place of the full liturgical service on Sunday. It’s just too limited for that. You can have the choir chant all the liturgical parts that the congregation usually chants during a full service on Sunday morning, that is actually quite common around the world, but what they sing is still on that worship train we call the liturgy. It starts and it stops and there are lots of parts, chanted by different participants. Some things are changeable, and some are not.
    I’m also not ignorant of the musical offerings of the American Sectarian churches, either. What I see discribed as CoWo is to my ear, sectarian music done using the Rock Music Style with very little talent, but great emotion. It is church music done with a Rock concert or a bar room voice. It just doesn’t fit. And where everything is an electrically amplificated “full voice.”
    My ears can’t go it, and when my Lutheran pastor schedules Baptist altar call hymns for our communion hymns, my heart can’t take it.
    We have an agreement now, that he will email me when it is safe to come to church. I reminded him of it once, and we waved me off becaue he was having another sectarian musical experience for the staid ole Lutherans. He hasn’t yet sent me an email telling me it would be safe to attend.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    I just wanted to agree, Spirituality of the Cross is an excellent book, and one that has greatly influenced my own faith.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    I just wanted to agree, Spirituality of the Cross is an excellent book, and one that has greatly influenced my own faith.

  • Joanne

    Ms. Fleming singing “Un bel di”:

  • Joanne

    Ms. Fleming singing “Un bel di”:


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