Pass It On

Monday, March 09, 2009 (Edited 8/10/2010)

My earliest recollections of singing go back to when I was probably about 5 years old. I remember the family devotion time that we had every week night. Dad would read from the Bible, and we would sing songs. Mom would sometimes play along on a small chord organ. We children learned to sing many songs and choruses together as a family. As we grew older, my brother and I were allowed on occasion to sing specials together in a worship service. Once in a while, I even sang solos.

I remember Mom taking us along when she went to church choir practice, and we would either sit in the pew and listen, or sometimes we were allowed to run around the property and play. I thrilled to hear the church choir sing and could not wait to be old enough to be allowed to sing in the choir. When I reached Jr. High age, I was finally able to join the choir. I remember sitting next to the men in the choir as they instructed me to watch the notes on the page as they went up and down, and to make my voice go up and down with them.

I remember when I first learned to sing harmony. It was on a bus trip coming home from some school activity, and one of the adult leaders was singing tenor along with the chorus that everyone on the bus was singing. I started making up my own harmonies, and learned to enjoy singing different parts.

As a young man, at a concert put on at our church by a male vocalist, the Lord touched my heart about the matter of serving Him in the area of music. I began to understand the power that music has to touch the lives of other people, and desired to have some small influence on others through my music.

As a college student, I viewed the future with unabashed wonder. Certain musical activities and abilities intrigued me. I thought it would be tremendous to have the capabilities of doing certain musical things, such as composing, conducting and recording music. I tried to learn everything I could to be a better musician.

As a college graduate, I clearly saw and understood my own personal limits, and wished for guidance in overcoming those deficiencies. I longed for a mentor, someone who would take me under their wing and give me real-world experience and training. I went back to school to obtain a master's degree in Sacred Music.

Over the years I have known several great, Godly music men, and read the biographies of others, whom I have admired, respected, and desired to emulate. My problem has always been, however, that I have not been able to develop a personal relationship with any of them. I have had to observe their lives from afar to glean whatever useful information I could.

Because I have never had a personal mentor, I have done my best over the years to be one. I have never tried to be some great musical guru that others become dependent upon for musical direction; rather, I have attempted to train musicians to make the music they perform their own, to have the personal skills necessary to be independent musicians with a song in their own heart. I have tried to encourage, train and motivate others to know God, to know good music, to know their own heart, and know how to communicate to others through their music, even better than I do.

So, how about you? Are you willing to mentor others? In a culture gone bizarrely awry, the next generation needs you to set the pace, to set the standard, to pass along what you have been given.

Train other musicians to know God, to know His word, to understand the principles of Godly music, and to communicate the truths of God's Word with passion, excellence, and beauty.
    Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16

Curtis Hollembeak

Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.