My name is Doug Jones, and I am professor of music at Jefferson Community College. My life has been, and is, immersed in making music. My father was a Baptist minister of music for nearly 40 years so for as long as I can remember, being in a choir is as natural to me as breathing. I have been surrounded all my life by the great sacred music of western history!
As I grew older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I realized that my father’s gift to me of church choral music represented that being without choir was like being without my soul! One of my favorite choral composers is Englishman John Rutter. He has stated that, “You express your soul when you sing!” In this year as we reflect on prayer and blessing, the blessing for me is being a part of the Broadway Baptist music ministry and singing with its exceptional choir! For me our choral music goes to the very heart of true worship; that worship is an offering, a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 3:15)!
There have been many anthems and choral works our choir has sung that for me have been, in the words of the great hymn ‘Blessed Assurance,’ a “foretaste of glory divine!” One favorite anthem the Chancel Choir recently sang was an exquisite arrangement of ‘My Shepherd Will Supply My Need’! This anthem holds much meaning to me by way of its paraphrasing text based on the 23rd Psalm. This anthem was performed at my father’s funeral several years ago as a message of his own faith journey as well as for all those in attendance. I encourage you to view and reflect upon it on the church’s Vimeo site.
Every piece the Chancel Choir does continues to bless my life and bring me closer to God through the act of musical offering. I might close with one final quote on God and music that has great meaning to me:
Music is God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.
-Walter Savage Landor