LE PETITE WINDBAG: Chapel Department Phasing in Avant-Garde Worship

In a move that shocked conservative Christian colleges across the nation, the Covenant College chapel department has begun integrating elements of avant-garde music into their worship songs. The idea originated with Chaplain Graham High. High stated, “I was in my office drinking a beverage brewed from the bark of the trident maple bonsai and despairing about the state of chapel worship. Our chapel music had been feeling stale recently—kinda the same old thing every day—everyone knows the words and can sing along.” It was then that the idea hit him. “I had just been listening to new age avant-garde dialectical conservatory post pop pre jazz (you wouldn't understand), and I thought, now this uplifts my soul in worship!”

Since then, the chapel department has been working to phase in more and more elements of non-traditional worship music. Worship leader, Lucas Harley-Davidson, was the first to change his style. Harley-Davidson stated, “I decided to play Rock of Ages but each musician started at a different part of the song.” Harley-Davidson will be the first to admit that playing Rock of Ages like this was almost impossible. “Ya, I got up there and kinda just winged it. It was fun to watch the faces of students as they tried to find the pattern and when to sing—they never seemed to realize that even I didn’t know what I was doing.” 

In the end, worship leader, Juliet Mario-Luigi, thought it was a huge success. “Ya it was a real home run,” said Mario-Luigi. He continued, “We definitely didn't strike out on that one and it wasn't a balk that's for sure.”

Harley-Davidson agreed saying, “That one was not a foul ball! We really hit a dinger to opposite field with that song!” As Harley-Davidson spoke a small tear ran down his cheek. “Go Scots,” he managed to choke out in the end. 

Rick B-Average, who recently won the award for worst immune system at Covenant, was confused and hurt by the odd time signature. B-Average said, “It was so frustrating, sometimes we would pause for one beat between verses and sometimes we paused for three beats. I kept singing at the wrong time and all my friends laughed at me. It wasn’t rad!”

While someone might have once walked into Dora Maclellan Brown Memorial Chapel chapel to hear Brian Urns leading a unified student body in the 18th repeat of the chorus of “Oceans,” they can now enter in to hear Chafing Blackhead trying to shepherd students in “Amazing Grace” backwards. 

Other Covenant departments have gotten in on the act too. The A/V department has decided to use the alignment of the stars to determine sound levels for each microphone and instrument. For example, last week, the constellation Sagittarius was fully visible in the northern hemisphere so A/V turned Blackhead’s guitar off for the entirety of the first song. 

The music department, inspired by the hipness of the chapel department, began choosing only the most obscure hymns for their bi-annual hymn sings. Music professor, Dr. Scout Sparrow, before leading students in “If thou but suffer God to guide thee” informed them that he had first heard the hymn last month—before it was cool.  

Students and faculty have had mixed reactions to the new style. Jake Frogkiss, resident of fifth north and the guy your mom talked to for an hour last time she visited, said, “The music is super weird; I am sad at the chapel department.” Dr. Whitebro, a Covenant professor, said “I love the new music—it perfectly matches my Jackson Pollock themed dress!” Neil “So Trill” Prince said, “smh, white people,” and Gravy Danberry, an outspoken communist and Covenant student, said, “Hey did you hear we put Ghetto’s hydrant in Jackson Pond? That's funny, right? Right???”

Graham High understands that some students might have difficulty understanding the new style. “Ya students were really starting to zone out during worship,” High stated, “that was what led to our decision to take away their phones during worship.” High confirmed that the chapel will continue with this experiment, pushing the worship music envelope.