One of the main reasons for going to the Christian Resources Exhibition was to look for music for worship. I need this for 3 different situations.
- For Sunday worship in Chapels with no musicians but strong singers
- For Sunday worship in Chapels with no musicians and weak singers
- For mid week worship and fresh expressions where we do not have musicians. These tend to be much newer songs so for some we need to sing along but once we know them we prefer to sing just to the music.
So I am looking for
- hymns from the Methodist Hymns & Psalms book both with and without singers.
- Songs Of Fellowship both with and without singers.
I have quite a lot of CD’s already (about 30) including many from "The 500 Series" which are by Kingsway and should match Songs Of Fellowship. However, the vast bulk of these are not good for singing along to. Typically the singer does some fancy solo bits (playing with timing or repeats), or there are long solo instrumentals (we all stand there wondering what to do), or they are live performances with lots of crowd noise (other people clapping and cheering and asking for more is very distracting).
There are a number of quite good MIDI resources (for hymns) such as FamilyFriendlyChurches, but CD’s or MP3′s can sound a great deal better and are much easier to play without specialist equipment.
I have come back from CRE very disappointed. I found two suppliers who have (very limited) MP3′s available of backing music without singing.
- MissionWorship.com from Kingsway but what a rip off. Songs with vocals are 99p but songs without vocals at £1.99 and they only have 94 available. As there are 1690 songs in SoF 1, 2 and 3 this is just over 5% available. Note that the full set would cost nearly £3,500 !!!!!!
- DM Music also have a small number available but the price is the same. The bulk purchase of 100 for £149 (still not very good value) does not include versions with no singing (well actually it seems to have a random mixture between singing and no singing which is ridiculous).
I think it is a terrible shame that these prices are going to keep these tracks from many small churches (who else is going to buy these tracks without singers or with singers for congregational singing). The additional cost having already paid for word books, music books (I spent £100 on 2 sets of SoF music editions today) and CCL licences is well beyond the means of many chapels I serve.
The other main supplier of CD’s is Kevin Mayhew but somehow I missed their stand. Their prices work out nearer 50p per track. NB 25% of the Kingsway and DM Music prices. They have approx 400 modern songs available, 400 hymns and 300 for young kids.
Another alternative is the Church Music Website who have 138 hymns for £37 or their full set of 312 hymns for £104.99
Still a big gap for the modern stuff (ie Songs Of Fellowship). So I am looking for suggestions that are affordable for small & poor churches (the very ones least likely to have musicians).