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So, Playing in Church Is Too Hard, You Say?

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
For many years I have been advising euphonium players to connect with a local church and volunteer to perform euphonium solos now and then (plus play in a brass ensemble if they have one). This is a great way to gain experience and it's a nice contribution to the church. Euphonium is a great fit for a worship service!

Some of you who are not associated with a church may find it uncomfortable to approach them. Don't worry - in most cases they will be glad to hear from you! "But," I hear some of you say... "I don't have time to work up any good music." There is another thing about which you needn't worry!

Here is a piece I just played for a church prelude recently. It's not a traditional Christian piece, having come from the Broadway music by Roger Miller, "Big River." But the title is a good fit as is the tone of the piece, and words are actually fairly appropriate as well (not that the congregation is likely to know the lyrics).

Here is the link to download this music:

Note that you can change the key of what you buy. If you don't like transposing, buy one in F for the piano to use and one in G for you to use. It'll cost you double, or about $10 total if you do that.

I simply added a repeat and had to piano take over the melody on the 2nd time. You'll see it easily if you get the music. As you can hear, it is not even close to being a technical challenge, and the range could hardly be easier. Just play it like you would sing it and you're home free!

Musicians: David Werden, euphonium, Sara Brunk, piano

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  1. JP's Avatar

    Well done as always, and the gentle tone of the song is certainly appropriate for church.

    For me, church playing is different than other playing in that I see it not as entertainment but ministry. The ministry value/message of a song is in the lyrics. Therefore, for me, the lyrics need to present a message that supports the church's mission. And since the message is in the lyrics, I like to have them projected on a screen when appropriate so the attendees can see and read them.
  2. davewerden's Avatar
    JP: thanks for the nice comments. We have a screen, but the folks who run it at the early service aren't musicians, so they would not be able to follow the music. But if I do it again, I may see if we can squeeze all the words onto one readable screen.

    In the show, the song is almost like a spiritual. It is sung slowly when it first comes in. Then near the end of the show they do the same song as an up-tempo gospel song. For the record, here are the words:
  3. LD3's Avatar
    Very nice!
  4. Davidus1's Avatar
    This is a very beautiful piece! Great job.
  5. tonewheeler's Avatar
    Nice Dave....what a lucky church to have you play!
  6. rrfisch's Avatar
    I play in church a couple times a year. Sometimes Euphonium, sometimes trombone, the the euphonium really fits well for a solo offering! Great job Dave.
  7. Eupher6's Avatar
    Completely agree with JP that performing in church is another form of ministry. Lovely shading, Dave.
  8. Davidus1's Avatar
    What key was this piece in Dave? G?
  9. davewerden's Avatar
    The concert pitch key is F, so if you think in Bb treble clef (as I do) that would make it G.
  10. Davidus1's Avatar
    Thanks Dave. That is what I am doing as well. (thinking in Bb Treble Clef). I ordered a copy from Sheetmusic Plus. Beautiful piece! Thanks for sharing.
  11. davewerden's Avatar
    Davids1: Can you please give me the URL for that piece from Sheet Music Plus? I could not find it. Thanks!
  12. Davidus1's Avatar
    Here it is. You can even select the key!
  13. davewerden's Avatar
    Right, that's the link I have in the original post above. I thought you were talking about Sheet Music Plus.
  14. Davidus1's Avatar
    I'm sorry Dave. I did list sheet music plus in error. Sorry about that. ) : David
  15. AlaskEuph's Avatar
    I have played in church since 7th grade. It is a great way to share music. Church's are appreciative. I live in Dillingham, Alaska, I play at least twice a month, and during Thanksgiving through Christmas, pretty much every Sunday, and the same around Easter. Our Pastor is a pianist of fairly good ability. I am lucky, we pretty much meet once a week to practice. There are times I use CD tracks or SmartMusic for other church's in the area. There is a great wealth of music, check out Douglas Yeo's site, there are seberal good links for music. I encourage all euphonium players to pursue, a side benefit is when you give a recital, you will probably double your attendance. This is my two cents worth. I agree with Dave totally.
  16. Dan Tuba's Avatar
    I have performed on tuba several arrangements from a few books by Curnow. They work very well for a prelude, offertory, special music, or a postlude. The books include music from the Messiah (Christmas and Easter), Easy Great Hymns, More Great Hyms, and Advanced Hymns. Some of the books include information about the Hymns such as Scripture references and a little history about the hymn. All of these books come with a piano accomp cd, and you can also purchase the piano accomp book separately. Like Dave said, this is a great way to gain experience, and it is also a great way to serve the Lord!