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Raymond Wise on the Needs and Opportunities in Church Music Today

A video conversation featuring Raymond Wise on the needs and opportunities in church music today

Rev. Dr. Raymond Wise has served as a church musician for more than 30 years and is director of the African American Choral Ensemble at Indiana University.

Dr. Wise has penned more than 600 compositions, recorded 22 albums, and performed, taught, and conducted extensively all across the world. He served as co-director of the Hampton University Ministers' Conference Choir Directors' and Organists' Guild, which provides intensive training in African American sacred music for church music ministers and college students preparing for service as church music ministers.

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, he began his musical career at the age of three, singing gospel music with his family singing group "The Wise Singers."  

In this conversation, John Witvliet, director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, engages Dr. Wise on a number of topics:

  • Begin by sharing your story and musical journey.
  • How does the explicitly religious music (Gospel music) work at a secular university campus?
  • What advice do you have for young, aspiring church musicians?
  • What advice do you have for mid-career church musicians? Is it possible for them to still learn new musical styles?
  • How does music ministry work in different cultures and audiences?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges of working in the 'worship music' industry?
  • Are there examples of music that function as effective 'bridges' across musical cultures?