OK, this is a concert from North Point Community Church, not a worship service. Still, I’m not sure I like this. Is it a sign of things to come??  awr


  1. This video was circulating just before Christmas 2010. It opened a lot of people’s eyes then, and has been imitated by others since, I am told. If the pastor is presiding from a Kindle or iPad, how does he tell the musicians not to use this technology?

  2. This is interesting to see. I’m not sure that I like it, in fact, I can say that I pretty much do not.

    That said, my parish offers Evening Prayer during Advent and Lent one night per week. One of the 4 cantors uses her iPad instead of a song book and I was struck by the lovely glow emanating from her music stand in the barely illuminated chapel.

    That however, is not quite the same as this.

  3. This is, in essence, no different from people playing synthesisers, electronic keyboards, even digital pipe organs: the iPad is both the input device (keyboard) and the sound generator (synthesiser). As always, I suggest, the most important question is, regardless of the technology employed, how musical is the result?

    Given that a virtual iPad keyboard is effectively monophonic, not to mention far less sophisticated than the non-virtual model, I don’t see many churches rushing to replace their organs, pianos, or instrumental ensembles.

  4. There is something to be said for the visual impact of an instrument being played. Different instruments are played differently: a bow glides across violin strings, hands and feet navigate the organ (or piano) keys and pedals, fingers flutter on a flute, and an arm boisterously jerks forward to ring a bell.

    While these actions might be replicated virtually, the images of them cannot be… unless we replace all our real instruments with “iNstruments”, but then what is the point?

    I once attended a performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets, a piece of music I was quite familiar with, it having been the soundtrack to a video I watched dozens of times as a child, “Voyage to the Outer Planets and Beyond”. As I was watching the orchestra, I was tempted to close my eyes and remember the images of the solar system from the video… and then I realized that there were living, breathing people — talented musicians — sitting in front of me, playing their instruments skilfully, and that the musicians and instruments are a part of the performance as much as their music is.

    Perhaps in the distant future, virtual instruments will be a necessity. But until then, I’ll take a real violin over a virtual one any day.

  5. It’s using modern technology, easily accessible, understood, and translated to life outside of church, entertaining, engaging, and draws young people. It could even be completely participatory if the assembled had their own with them. And totally cost effective for communities that are just starting out and don’t have funds for full blown music ministries with traditional instrumentation, ie. drum sets, keyboards, bass, electric/accoustic guitar. It’s the church in the modern world.

  6. The performers play their devices with accuracy, steady tempi, excellent intonation, stylistic accuracy, a nice sense of ensemble playing, unobtrusive choreography and I am especially impressed with the sophisticated hologram( hollogram?) of the singer. It is their vesture that troubles me. Fred Moleck

  7. I have seen such technology used to benefit clergy with failing vision in the pulpit and at the altar.

    It’s one thing to use it to auto-enlarge type for visibility. (BTW, is there a Roman Missal app. yet?) It’s quite another to use it to replace authentic instruments.

    Now… where’s my quill and parchment?

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