SYRACUSE — For the second time in its 49-year history, the Lake Wawasee boat-in is extending its Sunday schedule by one week to accommodate the Wawasee Jazz Party.
The Sunday, Sept. 9, boat-in was scheduled to coincide with that weekend’s two-day jazz fest at Oakwood, the first of its kind sponsored by Chautauqua Wawasee. Performing the worship music for the 8:30 a.m. boat-in will be Christian vocalist Ryan Hirschy. “He’ll jazz it up a little and get people’s toes tapping,” said Harlan Steffen, who spearheads planning for the boat-ins.
“My style of music is varied ranging from traditional to moderately contemporary without losing the focus and the heart of the message — Jesus,” said Hirschy on his website, www.ryanhirschy.com.
Teamed with pianist Brad Byerly, the Decatur-based duo “make a wonderful combination that can minister to all ages,” according to one testimonial.
Jazz is not an inapt pairing with Christian worship. In fact, nearly every genre of music has been converted into some type of praise to the Almighty.
Paul Overstreet, who wrote hit singles for Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney and Blake Shelton, carries the country western flavor with him in performing music with positive spiritual messages like “Richest Man on Earth” and “Heroes.”
Christian singer and songwriter Carman melds pop, comedy, Broadway, rap, country, rock and soul during his concerts, which feature a variety of novelty songs. Often described as “part evangelist, part Vegas showman,” Carman’s performances are “more like a rock and roll Billy Graham Crusade than a Christian music event,” according to www.carman.org.
Christian parody band ApologetiX, which has released 35 studio albums, rewrites secular songs with Christian lyrics. Describing itself as “a cross between ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and Billy Graham,” the band has scored hits with Christian incarnations of well-known songs by Elvis Presley, Ozzy Osbourne, The Eagles, Queen, Boston, Charlie Daniels Band, The Beatles, Alice Cooper, Metallica, Eminem and other artists.
Locally, Mike Beezley, pastor of Clunette United Methodist, plays a ukulele in The United Band. The band performs at bars around the area and spreads a heartfelt one-on-one ministry with patrons during breaks. Scheduled gigs can be found at www.facebook/theunitedband.
The phenomenon of using secular music to convey a Christian message is not new. Of the 37 hymns written by Martin Luther, at least four were adapted from German folk songs and one or more may have been conscripted from a tune commonly sung in taverns, inns and dance halls.
In Luther’s day, borrowing available music was common. Many hymn writers were poets, not trained musicians, and were not able to supply their own music for their writings.
Craig Fritchley, pastor of The Sanctuary, will deliver the message at the Sept. 9 boat-in. The service runs from 8:30 to 9 a.m. The boat-in is sponsored by the Syracuse-Wawasee Ministerial Association.
Attendees can board the S.S. Lillypad, a 110-passenger houseboat, at 7:30 a.m. behind The Frog Tavern for a free ride to the services. Riders can enjoy coffee, juice and a pastry during the trip.
For more information, call (574) 457-7172 or visit www.wawaseepoa.org.