For years and years and years, the music for Sanctuary worship at First Baptist was accompanied by only the organ and the piano. This year has seen a paradigm shift that our worship planning team has long hoped for. With the hiring of our new pianist, Cindy Chen, we have also been blessed with the voluntary services of her husband, Eddie Tsai, on violin. My daughter Robin also committed herself to playing trumpet whenever we needed her services. This has allowed us to "play around" with the instrumentation that we use on the hymns.
Our new Celebration Hymnal comes with excellent instrumental arrangements for all kinds of instruments. We have the violin and trumpet books that go along with the hymnal, and we will gradually acquire the ones we need for other instruments to join in. I know of one excellent flute player, for instance, who only needs to overcome her shyness about performing to prompt me to order the flute book!
One thing we have just loved to think about in planning has been the idea of using various instruments to create an appropriate atmosphere during the worship time. For instance, on a "big " hymn, like "Crown Him With Many Crowns", we might use all four instruments for an exciting time of praise. Then, around the prayer time, we might use only piano and violin to sing a quieter, more reflective hymn. I have heard many positive comments from the congregation about the variety they experience this way, and the way it helps them to worship as they sing.
Though Robin graduates this spring and will move on, there is another young trumpeter coming along who I think will be very useful to us. I know of a cellist or two, a flute player, and a couple of clarinetists. Many are a little reluctant to play publicly, but I hope they will eventually feel called into service. I don't believe in arm-twisting people; I think they should have the chance to think about whether this is what God wants them to do. They will become part of the larger worship team we have on the platform: organ, piano, wind instruments, and four part choir. Once they get a taste of the joy that comes with serving this way, I think shyness will subside. It's fun, and it glorifies God!