Worship in revue

New musical shows evolution of worship

LAKE ELMO — Two St. Croix Valley couples hope to shed light on the history of worship through a musical lens at an upcoming debut performance at Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo.
The commissioned work brings together Eric and Donna Bennett of Hudson, Wis., and Roger and Denise Olson of Grant. The group has a broad background in music and Christian scriptwriting, The Bennetts have led worship in various Twin Cities churches and Roger Olson has been a choir director and worship leader in the Chicago and Minneapolis areas.
“We were asked to write the play and we thought it would be fun, but as we got into it we started to look in to the history of what worship means and we tracked it from the beginning to where it is now,”  Donna Bennett said. “It’s changed a lot but the reason to go to worship has remained the same, we go to worship God.”
The musical production, “Worship Yesterday, Today, Forever: A Musical Journey Through the History of Worship,” took quite some time.
Eric Bennett, who wrote the script, said they heard about the opportunity in August and did a lot of research to make it what it is today. The final copy of the script was written last month.
According to Roger Olson, the presentation is divided between the traditional and contemporary parts of worship. Olson and his wife, Denise, took care of the traditional music arrangements while the Bennetts wrote the script and did some of the contemporary parts of the program.
Eric Bennett said the evening takes attendees through worship history starting from creation and going through revelation.
“We’ll go through where people first started to worship God through music in Psalms. We’ll also see where inspiration was created through the Christian movement from small gatherings of friends to large groups of people, from the development of instruments to putting music on paper and understanding how worship grew and changed from 70 AD to the 20th century,” Eric Bennett said. “We’ll feature some contemporary Christian music too, it’s a movement that’s got teeth and substance. We’ll also include a bit about revelations and how we may worship in the future.”
Olson said some pieces included in the performance are Gregorian chant, the Messiah Chorus, a southern gospel piece and the song Joyful, joyful that gained popularity with it’s appearance in the movie Sister Act II.
“I think the best part of being involved in this process is that we (the group) have the same heart to educate people about worship.” Olson said. “Some people don’t understand that worship is an action verb. It’s not just coming to gather, but rather being involved in worship.”
Donna Bennett said the performance will do that by engaging audience participation as well. She says it is pretty fast-paced and features a lot of audio-visual and multimedia aspects to the performance.
“Bring your voices, bring your friend. It’s a night of fun and awe and I hope that this awe they experience is along the lines of ‘wow, that was really cool.’ It will be fun because of all the participation throughout the whole show.” Donna Bennett said. “Come and see it, it’s the first and only time it will be for free, and we hope to have other performances as well.”
Both Olson and the Bennetts hope that the performance teaches people to understand the wholeness, splendor, and majesty of God through music. They also encourage those who love history and music to attend the performance at Rockpoint Church at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18.