les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Monday, January 20, 2014

A bit more reflection on the Capetown Opera Chorus

They sang a varied mix of opera choruses, spirituals (I think nowadays you have to say "gospel") and traditional african hymns.
The choruses were sung in fairly traditional style, with a small amount of acting and interacting, but basically "straight".
The african hymns had associated gestures which were wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyable.
The spirituals were kind of staged, so that for "O happy day", for example, the choir bounced around all over the stage and while one splendid lady sang of how Jesus washed her sins, her sins, all her sins away, the chorus interjected "hallelujahs" and "praise God's" and so on.

Which was very enjoyable to watch, but which left me non-plussed. Because what was being staged was not a dramatic composition, but we were watching staged worship, simulated worship, where the chorus were pretending to be a lively African church, for our entertainment.

Now that raises lots of questions in my mind.
For example:

Is it not likely that in a choir that comes from South Africa that a fair proportion of the singers are practicing christians? In which case... well I suppose there's another list of questions that could arise. But I told myself that there was a high degree of probability that at least some of the choir were sincere and heartfelt in their expressions of exuberant praise.

Then what about the popularity of gospel music in France? People here LOVE gospel music, while generally disdaining any expression of strong faith. Now "consistency is the god of small minds", but it does make me wonder whether there is a yearning for an expressed joy that is forbidden and excluded by this disdain of convictions.

And I think that's why I don't much like gospel music. Because the songs are songs of worship, and worship is not a spectator sport.

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