Singing Our Lives - Ways to Practice - Books

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and
admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts
sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

— Colossians 3:16

Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song
Brian A. Wren (Westminster/John Knox, 2000).

For the Love of It: Amateuring and Its Rivals
Wayne Booth (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

Words That Sing
Gail Ramshaw (Liturgy Training Publications, 1992).

Come Sunday: The Liturgy of Zion
William B. McClain (Abingdon, 1990)

How Can I Keep From Singing?
Gabe Huck (Liturgy Training Publications, 1989).

Music of the Heart
Based upon the story of Roberta Guaspari, a music teacher in New York City. Needing employment after her marriage fails, Guaspari convinces a Harlem school principal to let her teach a violin class. Though it's slow going at first, the violin program soon becomes so popular that students have to enter a lottery to get into the class. When the program is cut due to lack of funding, Roberta and her students devise a way to galvanize public support. (1999)

Brassed Off
This is the story of a group of Yorkshire coal miners who - like their fathers and grandfathers before them - perform in brass band competitions as a pride-building hobby. This time (1992) the competition is keen, as coal mines across the country are being shut down by the government and band members must "play for their lives". (1997)

Mr. Holland's Opus
Glenn Holland is an aspiring composer who takes a job as a high school music teacher to pay the rent so that, in his "spare time," he can strive to achieve his true goal - compose one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world. After initial troubles connecting with students, Holland slowly discovers that he has a gift for teaching teens an appreciation of music, even though he cannot connect musically with his own son, who is deaf. Holland often has to battle the school administrators who don't approve of his using rock-and-roll as a teaching tool, and who threaten to cut the music program in order to reduce costs. (1995)

When We Sing: Conversations with Alice Parker and Friends
This video is available from Liturgy Training Publications. (1994)

Madame Sousatzka
Manek, a brilliant 15-year-old pianist in modern London, is the son of a poor divorcee from India. His school arranges lessons for him with Madame Sousatzka, a formidably competent, dedicated, and eccentric spinster. She takes him completely under her wing, teaching him how to live as well as how to play, because she passionately believes that becoming a great pianist entails a way of life, not simply skill and technique. (1988)

Say Amen, Somebody
A documentary about the lives of two of gospel music's founders: Willie Mae Ford Smith and Thomas Dorsey. Originally outcast from black churches, gospel music became a big part of revivals' week-long evangelistic events held throughout Southern towns. (1982)

The Sound of Music
This classic musical overflows with instances of "singing our lives". Maria is sent by her Mother Superior to serve Baron Georg Von Trapp, a retired naval captain, as governess for his seven children. Maria teaches the children to sing and that becomes their bonding force, eventually leading her to fall in love with their father and marry him. Maria and Georg are married in 1938 as Austria votes to be assumed by Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II. The Von Trapp Family Singers escape by singing their way out of the country. (1965)

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