BlogKoerts Music | The Music of James Koerts
Recently, a friend of mine sent me an article on reasons why it’s a good idea for a church to have a choir. It was a good list. You’ve seen these types of articles, haven’t you? I gave it a read, wondering if I would discover something new, or at the very least find something that confirmed my already opinionated thoughts on the matter. (After all, the choir is a big part of my ministry.)
What stood out, however, was what was missing. I wrote my friend back: “It’s a good article, but the author missed the most important reason to have a choir: it’s God’s idea.”
It’s true, there are a lot of good musical, social, and spiritual reasons to have a church choir. As another friend recently reminded me, choirs are the quintessential “small group” of the church, offering tremendous opportunities for worship, edification, and spiritual growth. And this is all true and important.
But to me, the most compelling reason to have a choir is simply because it was God’s idea. From the early beginnings of organized Temple worship (2nd Chronicles 5:13, see the whole chapter), to the mass choir of eternal worshipers (Revelation 7:9-12), God has implemented, accepted, and enjoyed the ministry of the choir of believers.
Can a modern church truly be a New Testament church without the ministry of the church choir? Sure. Church plants and small congregations may find it to be low on the list of their immediate priorities. But eventually, as a healthy church grows numerically and spiritually, it would be wise to evaluate the validity of the church choir (even if it could really be called an ensemble).
And it would be a good idea… because it was God’s idea.
So 2016 was a whirlwind year. The year in which I turned 40 gave me no time to pursue a mid-life crises, ha! My first priority has been my family. Our daughter (9 years old) enrolled in a Christian school for the first time this year. She is a social butterfly, and flourishes with friends, schedules and structure. In addition to that, we home school two of our boys, and our three year old continues to bring an overload of joy to our family.
Second has been my church ministry. Things have continued to grow and flourish. We are enjoying the second year of the implementation of our music leadership team, a group devoted to the growth and work of the ministry. I attribute much of the success of our ministry to this group of fellow laborers who love the Lord and are committed. And frankly, that describes the majority of the people I am privileged to serve with week after week. Above all, God is doing a great work at Mikado Baptist Church, and as my pastor likes to say, “we are just glad to be on the bus!”
It’s been a joy to continue to contribute to the online work here at Koerts Music. Here is a list of all the major projects I was able to accomplish in 2016, thanks to the grace of God:
- 2 new Flex Instrumental solos (Jesus Paid It All and Christ Arose) — Flex Solos are instrumentals adapted for various instruments
- A new Easter piano collection
- The new Loved piano collection
- 2 new patriotic piano collections: One Nation Under God
- We launched our new Piano Club, which has done really well. You should join it!
- 3 new African American Spirituals piano collections
- A piano duet collection: Repeat the Sounding Joy
- A new Christmas piano collection: Rejoice
In addition, about half way through 2016 I began recording and making YouTube videos of all music I produce on this website. Please check out my channel, and if you like what you see, please subscribe. I expect to continue this with all future projects.
So, it has been a very busy year, and I give all the credit to God who has allowed me to keep up at this pace.
What can you expect this year? I’m glad you asked. Here’s a few plans I have for 2017
- Continue my current pace of musical output. Perhaps even exceed expectations. There are plans for new piano collections, more duet and duo arrangements, as well as more Flex Instrumental solos.
- Continue to deliver amazing content for the Piano Club members.
- Release a new simple series, with piano collections that include arrangements that are easy.
- Releasing music by other composers, not just that James Koerts guy. 🙂
- A renewed emphasis on blogging.
Let me just park there for a moment. Blogging is, frankly, a chore for me. I find it easier to “do” ministry than to blog about it. But the longer I’m in church music ministry, the stronger my passions in the field have become. There are some things I simply want to say. There are other things that I just can’t figure out, and I’d like your input. I view it as a worthy exercise, and so it’s something I’m willing to commit to do in 2017. I don’t know if it will be once a week or more or less frequent than that. But I do plan on sharing my thoughts more often, and my whole goal is encouragement and engagement.
I realized I haven’t shared some of my recent choral music, so this post will serve to make you aware of some new and fairly new choir anthems released within the last few years. Click on the pictures to access more info such as demos, preview pages, and purchase information
Publisher description: James Koerts’s rhythmic arrangement of Patricia Mock’s uplifting Gospel song expresses gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary and underscores the message: “I’m not ashamed to sing out His story!” Add the optional rhythm to amplify your worship experience.
Forever and Until
Publisher description: This anthem of dedication beautifully expresses the believer’s desire to respond to God’s call until Christ returns. “We are here and we are Yours, lead us in Your way. May we be Your messengers tomorrow and today.”
Here’s a new piano arrangement of How Great Thou Art.
Watch the video:
I’m really excited to introduce this piano collection of piano duets: Repeat the Sounding Joy.
Watch the videos here:
These are great ways to get lots of piano arrangements, and save some money in the process. Click one of the pictures above to learn more.
Here is the newest collection in the African American Spirituals series. The titles included are: Jesus Walked this Lonesome Valley * Little David, Play On Your Harp * Lord, I Want to Be a Christian (with I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me) * Ride On, King Jesus * They Crucified My Lord (He Never Said A Mumbalin’ Word) * Wayfaring Stranger * Were You There * When the Saints Go Marching In
Watch the videos:
Here’s a new piano arrangement of Higher Ground. Enjoy the corresponding video:
Here’s the video:
From time to time I discover videos on YouTube of my arrangements. I really enjoy listening to them. I’ve been very impressed with this particular YouTube user who is making some great music.
Here’s a video of the free piano hymn arrangement, For the Beauty of the Earth:
Here’s a new piano collection of African American Spirituals. It’s the first of probably four or five such collections.
As I was researching the project, I found that there were nearly 50 African American spirituals that I was familiar with. I was amazed at how much material there is! So I’m excited about future projects!
Here’s the newest solo piano video: More Love to Thee.
If the video above doesn’t display, then copy this address into your browser address bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBGdDsQ52rg
Find the sheet music here.
Here is a new video of one of my new arrangements, It Is Well with My Soul.
Copy this link into your web browser’s address bar if you don’t see the video above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df9DZaZ_BpI
I’ve been very busy here lately, and I’m excited to share with you some new and exciting things. In addition to the new YouTube videos I’ve been producing lately, I’m pleased to tell you about my new piano club.
For $25 a year, this premium piano club will deliver brand new piano arrangements to your email inbox each month!
Here’s what you get with your membership:
- Monthly piano arrangement
- Accompanying audio file of the complete arrangement
- A note from James about the arrangement
- An automatic 10% discount on all future purchases
Click here (or on the picture above) to learn more and sign up.
I have finally completed all of the videos for the Loved Piano Collection. Now, when anyone wants to preview the collection, they can listen to it in its entirety.
Instead of posting each video as an individual entry, I decided to put them together as a Playlist on YouTube (and here in this blog post).
If you like it, would you subscribe to my YouTube page? I would greatly appreciate it.
Expect to see many more demos on the site in the coming months.
If you don’t see the video above, copy this url into your browser address bar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLidK6gA7gI&list=PLQm9Ioy48lI81hmFox2F2ma2cPjzOEdZ3
Here is a new video of the gospel song, Oh, How I Love Jesus:
Copy this link into your browser’s address bar if you don’t see the video above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1QQQV3ce_g
Over time I will be introducing new videos that contain demos of my new piano arrangements. Below is my first video, an arrangement of “I Am His, and He Is Mine.”
If it doesn’t show up, copy this link into your browser’s address bar: https://youtu.be/dulDrNyOTKY
If you’d like to purchase the sheet music for this song, visit this link.
Here’s a brand new piano collection: Loved With Everlasting Love. It includes 10 arrangements of well-known and beloved Christian hymns.
Theses songs primarily fit in the intermediate level, with a few being late-intermediate, and probably just one that I would categorize as early-advance.
In the few days that this has been released, I have already received so many positive comments from people who have picked it up and are enjoying playing the arrangements. I gotta tell ya, that’s what keeps me going: your kind and positive responses. Church pianists are among some of the kindest people out there!
Something new with this collection that I will be gradually rolling out: YouTube videos of these piano arrangements. I hear from people all over who want to hear demos of the songs. So, my goal is to provide demos for each of the songs. This will provide prospective purchasers a chance to preview the sound of the sheet music, and it will give you a chance to listen to some (I hope!) great piano music in your spare time, if you are ever inclined to do so.
Music reaches its highest level and achieves its greatest use among Christians. Why? Because our music reflects that which is most lofty, most elevated, most exalted, most noble: the unchanging truth of God. Our music reflects and revels in biblical truth…. As our understanding of God’s Word, written and incarnate, has deepened, our desire and capacity for worship has increased. (John MacArthur)
Here is a new piano book published by The Wilds that you don’t want to miss!
I Lift My Praise is a great resource for church musicians! Faye Lopez, a good friend of mine, and prolific arranger and composer, led our team of collaborators, Reba Snyder and myself, in the production of this collection. Mrs. Lopez also beautifully recorded the collection in an available companion album (see below).
Titles Include: O Worship the King * Nearer, Still Nearer * Here Is Love * Take My Life, and Let It Be * I Run to Christ * A Passion for Thee * Complete in Thee * Nothing But the Blood * My Faith Still Clings * My Jesus, Fair * Make Me a Stranger * Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.
You will particularly enjoy this collection of Late Intermediate piano solos because it also comes with a media disk that includes PowerPoint presentations for each song. This really is a great resource, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.
I’m very excited to announce the release of my newest Easter music endeavor: Risen, 12 Easter piano arrangements.
What makes this collection different than last year’s Easter piano collection? The primary difference is the difficulty level. The Easter Collection is Late Intermediate/Early Advanced. This collection is set completely at an Intermediate Level, which will be helpful for many. Some of the songs are duplicates, but arranged in an easier style.
Advanced pianists probably won’t find anything here (unless you’re looking for arranging ideas). Intermediate pianists and students will definitely enjoy this collection. Some might find these arrangements perfect for those circumstances when you might have little time to prepare, but you want some (hopefully) great sounding music. (It was hard writing that sentence without coming off arrogant. I hope you understand what I mean.) Teachers may find these arrangements to be great supplemental material for their studios.
For awhile now, we have offered various bundles as an opportunity for musicians to purchase sacred sheet music at a discounted rate. Well I’m pleased to announce that we have updated the “Complete Collections Bundle.” You’re going to like the changes! Read more…
Over the first week of January I had the privilege of attending the Wilds Music Conference at the Wilds Christian Conference Center in Brevard, NC. I was given the opportunity to speak at a few of the workshops, which was a lot of fun. I met a lot of great people who lead in their various music ministries across the country. It was great to connect, meet new friends, and renew old acquaintances.
The topics I spoke on were about church administration. My first session was a “nuts and bolts” session, which basically went through everything we do as ministers of music. My second session was more of a philosophical discussion that tackled two main areas: turning from a performance mind-set to a worship mind-set, and the idea that we all lead out of our calling. My third and final session was a potpourri of tidbits I’ve learned and done through the years.
Whenever I’ve attended these sessions, I’ve always felt like I could walk away with one or two nuggets that I could take back to my ministry and incorporate. And that was my goal for the participants in my sessions. From the feedback I heard, people seemed to appreciate the content.
While I was there, I was able to “hob nob” with some ministry friends. I’d like to make you aware of their ministries, though I suspect most of you are already familiar with them. Read more…
Publisher’s Description: Like a Celtic folk dance, this contemporary composition lilts from the page and into the heart. Immediately engaging, this melody connects with the words, beautifully presenting a praise-worthy testament of worship. Accessible vocal writing sounds great with smaller ensembles, while bigger groups will enjoy performing this festive number with the optional Celtic consort orchestration. Score and Parts (ac gtr, mndln, b, dm, pnywhst/fl, fdl/vn) available as a digital download.
Purchase your copies here (offsite).
See the demo:
If you can’t view the video above, paste this url in your browser: https://youtu.be/b3AngYe7cNE
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