The morning news shows will often feature military bands on patriotic holidays. This weekend the U.S. Army is celebrating a birthday and true to form the morning show on Fox News featured a military band. Only it wasn’t a marching band, it was a pop band much like a church praise band and it really did not fit the occasion.
I don’t care if military people form a band and play pop music. I don’t care if church people form a band and play pop music. What is out of place is when military people, outfitted in full dress uniform play patriotic music with a pop sound and when church people dressed in whatever, play pop music in church.
I did notice a difference between the two however. The military praise band was very talented and sounded really tight and good. I have yet to hear a Lutheran praise band that is any good. (There was the house band at the Atlanta LCMS National Youth Gathering about fifteen years or so ago with the lead singer in the slinky dress with spaghetti straps that was really good, in more ways than one, but it turns out they weren’t even Lutheran.)
Military music is most appropriately played by marching bands and orchestras and not with a pop sound. Church music is most appropriately played with churchly instrumentation and not with a pop sound. Pop music is pop music. Military music is military music. Church music is church music.
Just to round out my point here’s a story from the World Cup soccer coverage. I was clicking through the TV channels during a commercial on the U.S. Golf Open coverage when the opening ceremony of the Uruguay/Costa Rica match caught my eye. (I did not watch the game since the U.S. Open was on. “Hello,” no comparison.) They played the national anthems for each country with thousands of fans and the players singing along. They were played in traditional style with full orchestration. It was fitting. It would have been silly to have the military praise bands from each country do the anthems. Several of the players were tearing up during the playing of their national anthem. It was an appropriate sound that elicited an appropriate response.