Other Music at Toronto . . .
While the musical spotlight was focused on the stage in the SkyDome, two other church entities also provided opportunities for Adventist musicians to perform and another performing stage located in nearby Bassett Auditorium was provided.
The Global Mission Stage
In a prime location just inside the entrance of the massive exhibition center with hundreds of booths, our 500-seat performance area of the Global Mission stage attracted large numbers and, at times, standing-room-only crowds. Like those who chose music for the programs in the SkyDome, our goal was to present music that truly reflected the global nature of the churchís work. Accordingly, we chose musicians mainly from among those the music committee had selected to perform on the SkyDome stage, providing an expanded opportunity for them, many of whom had traveled great distances.
While music was one of the most popular parts of our global Mission stage presentations, we also featured a wide spectrum of other areas of the churchís Global Mission work. These ranged from Adventist World Radio to ADRA, It is Written to Maranatha Volunteers International. Some of these ministries provided music as part of their presentations.
We also had ten well-known Adventist speakers such as Dwight Nelson, Hyveth Williams and Charles Bradford speak on the topic "If I had only fifteen minutes to speak." Each day we printed programs that listed that dayís events, which usually started at 10 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m.
The Adventist Book Center Stage
Director, Chapel Music
Pacific Press Publishing Association
The Pacific Press, along with the Review and Herald, was given the responsibility to manage retail sales within a 10,000 square foot room located and connected to the main exhibit area. Chapel Music, a division of Pacific Press formerly known as Chapel Records, in its role as distributor of recordings by Adventist performers and music groups, provided two performing areas, one inside the actual room and another at the entrance in the corridor connecting our room to the larger exhibit area. A quieter type music featuring keyboardists, piano and violin performers, and others was chosen for inside the room. Louder ensembles were featured at the entrance.
Starting at 10 a.m. and continuing to 7 p.m. at thirty-minute intervals a new group was scheduled to perform for 20 minutes on the stage at the entrance. As in the SkyDome and on the Global Mission Stage, we attempted to choose music and artists that reflected the diversity of cultures and countries and generations that comprise the church. Many of our performers were those featured by the music committee on the SkyDome stage. And the variety was truly amazing. Caribbean steel drums and other Hispanic, Russian, African, European and American folk and indigenous traditional and contemporary music were part of a truly international mix on our stage.
Additionally, we attempted to bridge what has been referred to as the musical generation gap in our midst. Childrenís groups as well as college and university ensembles were featured doing both vocal and instrumental sacred music. All of it was screened and any music with a resemblance to the rock idiom was not allowed. This is in line with our usual policy at Chapel Music for choosing music for distribution, one we feel is mainstream conservative.
While Chapel Music no longer produces recordings, it does review submitted CDís for possible purchase and distribution through ABC bookstores. Each year we choose between 25 and 35 CDís, providing music in several sacred music categories such as Traditional, Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Children, Country, and Folk. Music CDís in languages other than English are also released, most being in Spanish. For the event in Toronto, we provided shelf space for CDís other than our own with the understanding that it was only for this event and on a consignment basis.
As I screen CDís for Chapel Music, I am continually impressed with the wealth of musical talent we as a church possess. Working with the performers in Toronto reinforced that perception. You may check out Chapelís music by visiting www.adventistbookcenter.com .
Another more formal opportunity for music performance was scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. daily and from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Sabbath. The latter was offered as an alternate activity during the meetings scheduled in the main auditorium on Sabbath afternoon. The Bassett Theatre, a 1300 seat auditorium that is part of the convention complex, provided an ideal stage. The length of time allotted for each performance varied from 15 to 30 minutes.
Those scheduled at the beginning of the sessions and on the first Sabbath played for audiences with as few as a dozen people. By the end of that Sabbath afternoonís performances, however, the audience had increased to 500. By the second weekend, word had spread about what was happening at Bassett, and performers were playing for standing-room-only audiences.
This information on Music in Toronto was printed in the Summer/Autumn 2000 issue of Notes, an IAMA Publication.