Emu Music is a collaborative ministry focused on contemporary, Biblical, Christ-centred music in church, that aims to equip churches with fresh new songs of the Word and to train leaders and musicians in what it means to practically run a Biblical music ministry.
Emu Music’s Word in Song Conference Adelaide will be taking place on Friday 2 & Saturday 3 November at St Augustine’s Unley, led, in part, by the Rev’d Mark Peterson.
Mark, who is a priest at Unley (and also an accomplished musician), explains his history with Emu Music and how he came to be hosting the event, “I’ve had a long association with Emu Music, from way back when I was in Sydney, including doing albums, conferences, song writing and other stuff. Emu itself is a very small organisation, but the group of people associated is quite large. That group is a bunch of musicians who have a common goal to see churches adapting quality contemporary songs into their services without compromising on theology and Biblical content.
“So, anyway, a few years ago the big conference that they used to run in Sydney (TWIST Conference) was condensed down into a travelling roadshow type conference. Emu has called this Word In Song, and usually connects up with local musicians in a city and seeks to be an encouragement to them in the hard slog of doing music ministry in church every Sunday. So, the Adelaide event is actually happening in conjunction with and event in Tassie and another event in Scotland (both overseas, you might say!), but I’m only involved in the Adelaide one.”
The conference will take place in two parts, starting with a free event on the Friday night called “A Night In With Emu”, which Mark says, “aims to cater for a broad audience including churches and schools, as well as others who might be interested in a night of singing contemporary praise songs, learning some new ones, and also hearing a bit of the back story for the writing of some of the songs.”
Saturday is a day conference with 2 all-in sessions, a masterclass on how to breathe life into songs and make them sound fresh and contemporary, 3 seminar options (Music Directors, Song Leaders, or an all-in seminar on why we sing the songs we sing), plus plenty of opportunities to network during session breaks.
Mark explains that while this is a contemporary music event, that there is a place for everyone at Word In Song, “I guess music can be divisive, particularly along traditional versus contemporary lines. The differences are understandable because we come from different backgrounds and cherish different memories. But I think it’s important for musicians, and congregations, to always be willing to broaden their musical styles and knowledge, mostly because of Christian love and charity. This should work both ways, of course.”
“Though this is a contemporary music event, one of the aspects that participants will notice is that all of us on the platform have a deep respect for traditional styles, and particularly for the heritage of hymns that we draw from. Song writers who understand and are willing to be taught about the hymn tradition write better contemporary songs anyway. So it’s definitely going to be a useful day regardless of your tradition. But there will be a focus on making contemporary music work well.”
“It’s a great privilege for St Augustine’s Unley to be able to host this event. It’s traditional building with a long history of great church music. But it will also be a great venue for doing contemporary music. I find that the aesthetic richness of the windows and timber and stone work in the building really create a beautiful context for artistic expression of a range of types. And getting younger people with fresh sounds into our buildings helps to build bridges.”
“I’d invite anyone to come along on the Friday night and just check it out. And then you can make your mind up to come the following day if you’d like.”
Where: St Augustine’s Unley
When: Friday 2 & Saturday 3 November 2018
Cost: Friday = FREE
Saturday = $50 or $40 for students and pensioners
Register at emumusic.com/collections/word-in-song-adelaide