The event I attended at the Seventh Day Adventist Church was Sabbath School and the best way I can describe it is similar to Sunday school, but on Saturday mornings and for adults. There are specific topics for Sabbath School, based on what day it is, and when I went our theme was unity and conflict resolution. There was a brief introduction before we broke up into discussion groups, read through Bible passages, and then discussed the topic.
For Sabbath School, the only music that was performed was at the very beginning when we sang a single hymn for their songbook. The leader made it seem like most of the time there was a pianist there, but that was not the case on this day. I think in a lot of places, that would have meant you just skipped the song for today, but instead they sang the song a cappella. The whole congregation knew the first verse well enough to sing along, but eventually, the voices faded until it was basically just the leader and a handful of other people. At the end of the song, one of the older gentlemen said he would have sung along, but the leader’s voice was so beautiful he just wanted to listen. The fact they chose to sing a cappella rather than skip the song without a pianist says a lot about how much they value sound. Jumping the song for the day would have been easy enough, but they thought it was important to enough to do, with or without instrumental accompaniment.
The main sound of Sabbath School, besides the a capella group vocals, was the discussion. We first heard a story about curing blindness with faith and limes, then we listened to a faith testimony from one of the congregation members, but the majority of Sabbath school was spent in discussion groups working on the lesson for that day. In our group, we were each given Bible passages to read aloud whenever the group leader got to our reading in the lesson. For some people, you could tell this made them uncomfortable, but others did not seem to mind. We finally discussed the ideas of unity and how to resolve conflicts when they arise, especially between different religions or points of view.
At the Seventh Day Adventists Church, it seemed like sound, regarding music, was necessary to their full experience of Sabbath School. Most people who aren’t musicians, won’t choose to sign a cappella if they have the option not to sing. The fact they wanted a cappella over skipping the song tells me sound is necessary to their full religious experience.
By Kayleigh Wallace