Life after CCM, the remix

The first time Jay Swartzendruber held a compact disc, he wondered if music fans would miss the artwork, readable lyrics and other goodies that came inside old-fashioned album covers.Years later, industry insiders started talking about selling music online and it was deja vu all over again. The voice in his head said, "Fans will forgo CD art and packaging altogether? You seriously believe that?"Swartzendruber also likes reading magazines he can hold in his hands, especially when it's the one … [Read more...]

FM radio reality in church

The clock is ticking and soon Jeff Crandall while face the challenge of selecting the right music for the Christmas services at High Desert Church.This will be tricky, because Christmas is what the 70-member staff at this megachurch calls a "federal" event. This means that these services will unite worshippers from the three radically different services that are held week after week at this booming congregation in Victorville, Calif., about 90 miles outside of Los Angeles."Christmas may be the … [Read more...]

Catholic choirs, alive or dead?

Lucy E. Carroll has never actually attended a Catholic Mass in which a cantor belted out, "He'll be coming 'round the altar when he comes! He'll be coming 'round the altar when he comes!" At least, that hasn't happened yet."I know that some people have used Stephen Foster music in a Mass," said the musical director at the Carmelite monastery in Philadelphia. "I've heard about people using the melody from the waltz scene in 'Beauty and the Beast' for the 'Gloria.' And I've heard more than one … [Read more...]

Worship for sale, worship for sale

In the beginning, there were the Jesus People.They had long hair and short memories and they emerged from the 1960s with a unique fusion of evangelical faith and pop culture. They loved fellowship, but didn't like frumpy churches. They trusted their feelings, not traditions. They loved the Bible, but not those old hymnals.So they started writing, performing, recording and selling songs. The Contemporary Christian Music industry was born.And, lo, the counterculture became a corporate culture, one … [Read more...]

Romeo and Juliet, born again

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- It's hard to imagine "Romeo and Juliet" with a happy ending.But what if William Shakespeare had been preparing his manuscript for sale in stores linked to what used to be called the Christian Booksellers Association? What changes would he have been pressured to make?"The lovers would meet, just as before, and the parents would still disapprove. Probably one set would not be Christians at all, providing a convenient subplot of salvation," said novelist Reed Arvin, in a … [Read more...]