October 7, 2014

Life Principles of SATB
by Bryan Taylor - R & S Chair for Music in Worship

taylorI was sitting in the Crystal Ballroom at Tan-Tara Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri in January of 1979 as a member of the Missouri All-State Choir, having just met our conductor Weston Noble. We spent fifteen minutes in warmups and I heard and felt that "choral sound" that has affected me all my life. It is still stored in my memory, a picture of how "it" should sound. As a bass, I felt equally important to the other parts of the choir for the first time; knowing and understanding how my part brought strength to the whole. And in control of all of the ripple-making was one of the most inspirational conductors I will ever meet...dear Weston.

The principles of SATB
These "Principles of SATB" helped me understand how important each section is to the other to make it that amazing whole. I believe that if these principles are applied to our daily lives, and in our interaction with others, that our world would be a far better place.

These principles include:

  • The willingness and ability to sing in unison - giving up something to make the whole come together beautifully
  • Learning to allow another choral section to be heard over our own part
  • The willingness to follow directions
  • Reflecting that which is on your music in our face and in our singing
  • Allowing ourselves to be moved by the song, the story, and each other

What we learn from these principles helps us create amazing choral performances. And when we are offering this performance up to an audience of One in worship, it is right and a good thing to offer it at the very best level of offering that we have to give.

It's not a matter of chance
The awesome choral sounds are not produced by chance, but by the hard work and sacrifice given by singer, leader, and accompanist and allowing the GREAT LEADER, Christ, to have the baton.

Weston Noble clarifies this belief, that of giving our all, in his explanation of Body, Soul, and Spirit. "We allow our BODY to be involved, we then connect that to our SOUL, and in engaging both of these elements, we allow ourselves to connect to the SPIRIT. We can then reach outside of ourselves - each of these three elements being in line and we can become momentarily whole - an unforgettable moment."

Share these SATB principles
Our world needs a lift...if the SATB principles are used in our daily walk, what a wonderful world it will be! Share your principles of SATB with your world and little by little we will leave behind a far better place than we found.

Here are some of the anthems which have blessed my life and have helped me connect my BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT:

  1. My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Me - Rob Gardner, SSAATB, SpireMusic.org
  2. O Holy Jesus - Jonathan Willcocks, SATB, Lorenz 10/4054L
  3. Belfast Centenary Eucharist - Philip Stopford, SATB/Organ, ecclesium.co.uk
  4. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross - Dan Forrest, SATB, keyboard, tenor drum, and violin, Beckenhorst BP1899
  5. The Call of Wisdom - Will Todd, SATB/Organ, Oxford X544
  6. Personent Hodie (Festival Processional) - Lara Hoggard, SATB, organ, trumpets, and percussion or full orchestra, EC Schirmer RBM-005
  7. I Surrender All - Mark Hayes, SATB/Piano, Shawnee Press A 6791
  8. Son of God Mass - James Whitbourn, SATB, organ, and soprano saxophone, Hal Leonard HL14035947
  9. Cradle Hymn - Kim Arnesen, SSAA, piano with optional strings SATB version now available,Santa Barbara Music SBMP 1163
  10. Lead Me, Lord - Will Todd, SATB/Piano, Boosey & Hawkes 48019237