The Music was Wonderful
John McLarty, Editor, Adventist Today
Nearly every piece of music I heard, whether on the main stage of the Sky Dome or on the Global Mission or Adventist Book Center stages in the exhibit hall, was performed with verve and virtuosity. Styles ranged from classical to folk to "world music." The sound of drums was constant. The music from East Africa, especially, included not only drums but "movement." Those who believe drums and dance have no place in worship would have been left with a difficult choice: either Adventists in Africa and India have fallen into very deep apostasy or much of what we label as morality in music is, in fact, cultural.
One seminary professor told me of his grave reservations about the music. And Samuele Bacchiocchi, self-appointed guardian of Adventist standards, did more than privately disapprove. At one point he interrupted a young group named Valor, who were performing on a stage at the Adventist Book Center. He grabbed one of their mikes and began a tirade against "this rock music." The ABC manager had to come out and retrieve the microphone.
In contrast to the music, the preaching was quite forgettable. With the exception of the final weekend, I heard very few positive comments about the preaching. The music had been carefully selected from audition tapes from Adventist musicians around the world. We were hearing the best of the best. It appeared to me that the preachers were chosen on the basis of political concerns associated with their official positions rather than their ability to preach. Hence the unevenness of quality.
From an editorial in the July/August2000 issue of Adventist Today, reprinted in the Summer/Autumn 2000 issue of Notes