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Seminary Choir honored to perform at choral conference
March 06, 2006
By David Roach

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's Seminary Choir has been recognized as one of the best choral groups in the southeastern United States by being selected to perform at the Southern Division Con-vention of the American Choral Directors Association in Charleston, W.Va., Feb. 23.

The Seminary Choir, which was selected through a blind audition process open to college and university choirs throughout the southeastern United States, used the opportunity to show 1,500 choral directors that a theologically conservative institution can achieve a high level of musical excellence, according to Michael Lancaster, Seminary Choir director and associate dean of Southern's school of church music and worship.

"Everyone in the audience recognized, I believe, that Southern Seminary is theologically conservative and believes the Scriptures," he said. "Our prayer was that God would enable those listening to understand that we believed what we sang and that there was something different about us because of His presence in our lives."

In addition to being honored for musical excellence, the Seminary Choir prepares students for ministry in local churches by teaching musical techniques that can be used to communicate the Gospel, Lancaster said, noting that technical excellence is important for music ministries.

"We live in a culture in which nearly everyone is accustomed to listening on a regular basis to musical recordings at a very high level of technical achievement," he said. "In order to communicate the Gospel as effectively as possible, the method of communication should be of high quality."

Just like theology students study Hebrew and Greek to improve their preaching, music students study music theory and techniques in Seminary Choir in order to improve their worship leading, Lancaster noted.

"As a good student of preaching will learn Greek, Hebrew and rules of good oratory to enhance his delivery, style and content, a good church musician will have learned the language of music, traditional and contemporary," he said.

For regional conferences and worship services, Lancaster stressed that musicians must strive to communicate the Word of God through musical excellence.

"Why would we offer mediocre musical quality during worship?" he asked. "We do all we can to offer a high level of preaching. Why not do the same concerning music?"

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