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Christmas 2006 (1/07)

Basketballs bounce in Xi'an

Zhangye, a deeper look (7/06)

China comes to Virginia (7/06)

Winter Conference 

Happy Birthday, Amity, 
Part 1

Part 2 (11/05)

Bringing Sunshine,
Part 1

Part 2 (10/05)

Summer 2005: (7/05)

Needed: China volunteers

Bluefield College in China

Lantern Festival (2/05)

Village of God (2/05)

Summer 2004:

FBC Richmond (5/20)

Opposites attract (5/26)

Mission Impossible (5/24)

Rules for a new mother (10/24)

Brocade Museum (10/24)

Barbara Diggs at NIM (4/4)

Fujian Earthen Houses (2/14)

Zhangzhou Puppets (2/14)

Merry Christmas

JIE's 50th Anniversary

Oral English Competition

Sam's Page

Virginia Baptists arrive for 2002 SEP, Shanghai - Nanjing

Part 2: in Jining, the program begins

Inner Mongolia's grasslands

Baotou and Wudang Temple

Abby and Sarah in Xi'an

Discovering the Nestorian Pagoda

Eating Zongzi June, 2002

Mary Washington comes to China, Part 1
Part 2 May/June 2002

Xi'an May 2002
Terracotta soldiers
   The Nestorian tablet





Shanghai music

The article at the close of this page was written for the Spring, 2004, issue of Virginia Missions magazine. The event referred to in the article, a citywide all-church festival celebrating the lifelong work of Pastor Shi Qigui as composer of sacred music, took place on July 17. Jerry Jones and I attended, after spending the morning at the home of Pastor Shi and his wife. It was as special a day as I have spent in many years.

    In addition to the honor of being his special guest, along with Jerry, Virginia Baptist administrator, was the thrill of seeing old friends, many of whom I had not seen in several years.

with Pastor Dai.JPG (445302 bytes)with Mr. Ou, organist, engineer, and teacher of organ.JPG (441573 bytes)with Elder Lu.JPG (422145 bytes)

The floor of Grace Church was filled with sixteen choirs, and the guests were in the balcony. The choirs, plus a few soloists and instrumentalists, presented many pieces from the published compilations, contained in two volumes of choral works and one book of choruses. Everyone was thrilled when Professor Ma, retired professor of Shanghai Music Conservatory took the podium to direct a combined choir.

Commemorating the music of Shi Qigui.JPG (432168 bytes)How hot in those robes.JPG (443076 bytes)Guests in balcony.JPG (384346 bytes)
Muen choir.JPG (427820 bytes)Jingling choir.JPG (440838 bytes)Sixteen choirs.JPG (371066 bytes)
Still great, prof. Ma.JPG (450848 bytes)
The honoree honors others.JPG (448844 bytes)Grace Church.JPG (431295 bytes)

There’s a Song in His Heart

In 1997, When John Upton and others in the first delegation of Virginia Baptist leaders to China first met Pastor Shi Qi-gui (sure chee-gway) at Muen Church in Shanghai, he immediately sat down to the piano and played a lively rendition of “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” which surprised and delighted the visitors. He is as much at home playing many popular American folk tunes, as he is at playing more serious music; as adept at composing sacred music as at preaching sermons that move Chinese churchgoers from laughter to tears.
Recently retired from the fulltime pastorate, he remembers that even when he was young, he loved music. And, though he never formally studied music, he is one of the most prolific Chinese composers of modern sacred music in China . At the end of 2003, the China Christian Council published a collection of his music in two volumes, one of which is entirely Christmas music. The unified Chinese hymnal published in 1983 includes at least eight hymns for which he wrote the words, the tune, or both, and others for which he provided translation or arrangement, a significant portion of the 56 hymns of recent origin by Chinese composers and authors. The Christmas collection was featured in Shanghai ’s Muen Church ’s special Christmas presentation in 2003, and in 2004, there will be a city-wide celebration of this first-of-its kind publication.
He began to write music after entering seminary in Nanjing in 1949. Along with his theology classes, he studied music theory on his own, putting into practice what he was learning and was inspired to express. After arriving at Muen Church in Shanghai in 1953, on the pastoral staff, he began to write for the church choir. They sang his hymns and encouraged him to write more. One by one, they rose up from his heart as he was inspired to express worship and praise through music. His music began to appear in various publications and became known beyond Muen and Shanghai , until the body of work was such that the China Christian Council asked permission to publish them in 2003. The compositions in these publications date from 1950 to 2003, with perhaps the largest number dated in the 1980s. Simultaneously, the Shanghai Christian Council published a booklet of 40 choruses written by Shi Qi-gui over a period of fifty years.
Pastor Shi, along with many others, feels that Chinese Christians must increasingly express their worship through their own forms of music. In the foreword to this two-volume collection, Ma Ge-shun, respected retired professor of the Shanghai Music Conservatory, a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and noted Chinese musicologist, pointed out that there were three approaches that had been employed by Chinese hymn composers through the years: one is essentially western in style, both words and music, though written in Chinese; a second uses a Chinese linguistic style, but employs western-style music; a third, and less common approach, are hymns that employ uniquely Chinese musical construction as well as Chinese linguistic style. It is this third approach that Professor Ma admires most. It is his opinion that Shi Qi-Gui’s music not only falls in this third category, but they are among the most outstanding of such compositions.
Let us praise God for the gift of music He gave to Pastor Shi Qi-gui and pray that young Chinese Christians will be inspired to continue this work of creating a unique body of Christian music that will reach more and more Chinese people for Christ.