One of my favorite musical moments of my life was in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. For their weekly devotionals all the missionaries would be invited to sing a few hymns before the devotional started. The organists were always very professional, and even the more self claimed "unmusical" missionaries knew that they weren't your everyday ward organists. They would frequently use re harmonizations (alternate accompaniments) that would stir the soul and bring the spirit.
My entire life I've had a bit of a ravenous craving to discover how the power of music works. One day, after a particularly successful day practicing piano while pursuing my music degree, I lay in bed unable to sleep as I felt so energized from the music I'd been practicing. I'm a sucker for deep thought, and I found myself thinking on how it came to be that I felt so energized. Words began to form in my mind, and I felt particularly prompted to get up and write the words down. I eventually managed to make myself crawl out of bed to put them on paper, (this was probably well after midnight). The words now form the poem I've included on the homepage of this website:
It fills the air
It fills the soul
And awakens it
It energizes an element so small
No human eye or ear can conceive it.
Is something that is felt
The ear is only a passageway.
© 2015 Mark Richins Music
The words continue to inspire me. As I was reading scriptures today I just so happened to arrive at my favorite chapter, Moroni 7. To give a brief summary, the beginning of this chapter is Mormon teaching how to discern good things from bad things. Verse 12 is a frequently cited scripture that says bad things "inviteth and enticeth to sin." A million sermons and scores of research studies have been given on discerning between "good" music and "bad" music and how easy it is for "bad" music to slip words into our heads and make for a pretty filthy and depressive mind. I'm not going to go into that as it would make this article too long and way too boring. However, Moroni 7:12, gave an insight that floored me. "that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good." Now, when I think of the word "entice" I give it a negative connotation. The devil entices. I personally don't want to be anywhere near like him. But yet it says in this scripture that good things entice us too. This is partly what inspired me to start this whole venture in Mark Richins Music. There is so much music out there enticing us for bad, but yet music has such a huge power to entice us to do good. There are many artists that do this from more popular music styles like Alex Boye to more serious venues like The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and everyone between. My hope for this website is to do the same. The concept of music that entices us to do good gives me a whole new perspective of the term "pure music." Pure music in that it is created for holy purposes, but pure music in that it it masters the elements of musical artistry so much that it energizes and motivates us to do good as well.
My music won't appeal to everyone, but it has already appealed to many that have asked me to make it more available. Part of my mind goes "what are you thinking" as I begin publishing pieces, getting copyright permission, writing business plans, and on. The other part of my mind goes "this is needed, we need more quality music out there." So, regardless of how comfortable I am, this venture will continue to be. Here goes nothing!
P.S. Feel free to comment and vent on the need for #PureMusic. I'd love to hear from you!
I'm a traditional christian music enthusiast. I'm one of those people that attends church for the music just as much as the sermon, one of those people that give an evil glare at the people who leave for the congregational hymns, (Ok no, not really).
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