I’ve just spent a wonderful couple of hours.
I had a friend ask me a few months back if he could use my Messiah lesson series outlines. When I went to find them, I couldn’t–
Those outlines and handouts (along with the soundclips I’ve put together) represent about a decade of work. About ten years or so ago, I got the idea to combine my music education (I was a composition/saxophone major for about a year and a half– had lots of music classes, that’s what I’m saying’) with my pastoral and teaching interests and create an art/music/Bible study unit based around Handel’s Messiah. We look at the libretto– the words– and see where they come from in the Bible and see how Handel’s librettist creates a comprehensive story of the Messiah from Old and New Testament sources.
That’s a fun study, but what’s even more fun is the music appreciation component. I have clips of the various pieces of music, and we learn to hear how Handel paints the scene with music. His ingenious use of musical elements to illustrate biblical and theological points all throughout the work make it the masterpiece that it is. so, we study the Bible, we get a little comparative literature and music appreciation experience, we listen to (and watch– I have some videos) master-level performances of the music. And then, we make a trip to Lexington in December and experience the performance live as it is offered by the Lexington Philharmonic and the Lexington Singers, a professional-level community chorus.
I have taught it four times– each time adding to the material I use, adding to the lessons and enriching the process. And when my friend asked for that, I was glad to share but TERRIFIED to discover I couldn’t find any copy on any of my digital storage devices– not on any of the three hard drives I keep as archives, not on either computer I use. Nowhere.
As Charlie Brown often said– “Auuggh!”
But today, scrolling through one of those drives looking for something else, I had a thought. I checked in a folder that was named for one of my PDA devices, and ‘voila!’ there ther were — all 8 revamped lessons, and the files containing the music clips. I had used that PDA to move files back and forth between home and church, and even had hooked it up to the sound system at church to play the audio.
So, today I went through them all again, listening to highlights, finding myself moved by the music and the beauty it embodies. I sent copies of the files to my friend, and am looking forward to finding a way to teach this material again. Messiah has become an old friend, one who gives me great joy everytime we get reacquainted.