During each IWS session, several scriptures are chosen for formal convocational worship as well as morning chapel services. I attempt to design various forms of presentation as a model of the ways that the arts can interact with the texts to communicate them well. We often do not have more than a few minutes of rehearsal time, so that certainly impacts the modes we choose. I also encourage input from the presenters themselves and other leaders.
Job 38:1-11, 16-18
This passage from Job combines choir and solo reader during the formal opening service of the on-campus academic session. The supportive sounds are mostly vocal (including wind, pitches, and a sung phrase from the text repeated). One of the sounds is a “thunder tube” swung in the hand. And one of the most supportive sounds is silence!
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
This brief segment of the sermon on the mount concerns Jesus’s cautions about public behavior. My students came up with the idea to interpolate the ancient scripture with modern images and twitter posts that contextualize the passage, reminding us that these ancient cautions still sting!
This mode of presentation uses a solo reader combined with tableaux and the simple cueing device of the click of clave’s to move to the next frozen posture. There is a bit of improvisation as actors move to the next image.
Sometimes a hint of music can help a story. In this case, we use drumming and a solo singer. Note that it’s important that the music ebbs and flows with the meaning of the text.
I love it when we can model these two values: memorization and the participation of multiple generations!