Continuity, Change, and a Church Musician
Niebuhr Hall, Yale Divinity School
409 Prospect Street, New Haven
Free and open to the public. Free parking.
The film follows Jonathan Q. Berryman (MM,’96), a wisecracking, professionally trained Director of Music, as he works tirelessly to revitalize his church’s deteriorating choral program so that the entire breadth of African American sacred music can be sung. Co-directed by Margot Fassler and Jacqueline Richard.
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Traditional church choirs are shrinking in congregations across the country. In African American churches, many fear that if the choir disappears, so too will their diverse religious repertoire; arguably, the greatest body of music created on American soil. ”You Can’t Sing it for Them” follows Jonathan Berryman, a wisecracking, professionally trained Director of Music, as he works tirelessly to revitalize his church’s deteriorating choral program so that the entire breath of African American sacred music can continue to be sung. Because Messiah Baptist is replete with opinionated congregants and a charismatic minister, the film provides an entertaining but honest portrait of the life of a contemporary church musician, while exploring the timeless topics of sacred repertoire, religious calling, and personal and institutional change.
Clips from the film: