"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise."Psalms 98:4 (NIV)
Music helps binds the Hurrell family to each other and to God.
Graham recalls the joy of playing bass at 14 in his father’s four-piece dance band. He and Lynne, who plays clarinet, met and fell in love while performing together in a church praise band back in the UK. The couple recalls the fun of writing half a dozen musicals for Lynne’s primary school students. Their son Thomas, started playing drums with the Mariners praise band when he was 14 .. history repeating itself. Thomas is playing with his father at the same age!
All three believe in the power of praise music. “Praising God through music is nothing new,” Lynne said. “look at the book of Psalms; it’s full of songs. What’s interesting to see is how we’ve interpreted those same words over hundreds of years from plainsong chants through ancient stirring hymns to our modern worship choruses.” And the function is clear: “It’s a bridge between people and what God is trying to say,” Thomas said.
Graham and Thomas view their work in the praise band as a ministry, not a showcase. It’s a bit different than strutting down the 50-yard line on the football field or laying down a crowd-pleasing bass-line in a British pub. “You’re getting out there so that God can work through what you’re doing. We’re trying not to distract but to attract,” Graham said. “We want to play worshipfully for God.”
Thomas said it’s easy to know when the music works. “It’s really working when … the audience is looking up and visibly getting into it, praising up. You can see it on their faces.”
Graham notes that members of the congregation need to pay close attention to the lyrics. “Worshipers have a responsibility to know what they’re singing,” Graham said. “It’s very easy to sing words like – ‘I give you my life,’ ‘Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it’ – but you need to mean them.”
The power and joy of praise music is found in focus, understanding and intent. “Music is a great, great way of getting close to God,” Graham said. “Heaven is full of music. I’m sure of it.”