Frequently Asked Questions About The Sacred Orchestra
How did the Orchestra start?
Dave responds: From the time I was a young boy I played my cornet in church. My parents raised my brother and me in an environment where the church was the focus of our life. My entire family, including relatives, was very musical and we performed regularly in church. That was the beginning of my love for the music of the church. I have been involved in other areas of the music industry in my adult life, but have maintained my love for sacred music. In recent years I have been led to pursue it, bringing my background in music to the table, so to speak. I struggled with just exactly how I could do this and feel positive about it. I wanted the music to be honest both spiritually and musically. After much listening and thought I felt inspired in a certain direction which we have pursued with The Sacred Orchestra.
How has the Orchestra grown?
Dave responds: Initially the Orchestra was made up of a big band plus 5 female singers. We have since become a studio orchestra with a string quartet, percussionist, synthesizer, and 10 female singers.
How does a church go about hiring the Orchestra for a service?
Dave responds: The easiest way is via email. Churches may use my contact information, but it is easier in these days to communicate via email. Email your request information to me. After establishing the communication, I discuss dates and times with the church representative. We discuss any financial requirements, the parameters of the service, physical needs at the church, etc., and then the date is booked. It's really pretty simple.
What is the price of the Orchestra?
Dave responds: I hate to give out a blanket figure since there are some variables involved. But by and large we ask for a modest sum of money from the church in addition to a freewill offering that is taken when we perform The bulk of our income is from that freewill offering. So we hope and desire that the local church gets a good attendance for the service. It has not been a financial burden in any way for any church that has hired us.
What kind of music do you perform?
Dave responds: We cover a wide range of musical styles in our repertoire. We have traditional, swing, jazz, latin, contemporary, pop, and even rap in our repertoire. I pull from all of my musical background and that of others in the Orchestra. I don't like being hemmed in to just a narrow perspective. And I feel the need to reach out to all people and meet their musical tastes.
What sacred music do you enjoy?
Dave responds: Probably my favorite sacred music is that of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Their recordings are all absolutely first rate. The recording itself, the arrangements, the original musical compositions, the performance is all the best in my opinion. We include some transcriptions of their music in our repertoire. I have always been fond of Southern style gospel quartets too. If I could sing bass in one of those quartets, I would be very happy.
Where do you perform with the Orchestra?
Dave responds: We have performed largely in the Southeastern portion of Pennsylvania. Our area is about an 80 mile radius. We have hopes to expand in to other areas as time progresses.
Are all your members Christians?
Dave responds: I can't answer that for you as I have not confronted my people with that question. Firstly I feel there is a great deal of judgmental attitudes that exist in the religious sector of our society and far be it for me to be another judge. God alone will be the judge of man and He alone knows what is in the heart of every person. Secondly, if someone in my group was not a Christian, then perhaps this just might be a great place for them to become one!
How do you approach your worship services?
Dave responds: First, I let the people know that we are trying to come in and present a worship service from a humble point of view. We are not all saints but rather sinners. All of us in the Orchestra have the same problems and sins that everyone else does. We try to let the spoken word and the sacred music do the real speaking and touch each one in the congregation. It is a spiritual experience for all of us as well.
You've mentioned spoken word. Just what is that?
Dave responds: Our worship services incorporate both spoken word and sacred music. The spoken word is largely provided by members of the Orchestra although the local pastor helps with this at times. The spoken word is really along the lines of witnessing. It can incorporate some actual reading of scriptures, but for the most part is testimonial in nature. It is not a fundamentalist, fist-shaking testifying but rather more of a personal reflection, relating of personal religious experiences. It has been a very meaningful part of the service and actually is more the emphasis. My view is that the sacred music highlights the spoken word.