Songwriter Don Wyrtzen spells out the cost of commitment to excellence.
Don Wyrtzen is increasingly being recognized for his contributions to Christian music. Son of evangelist Jack Wyrtzen, he has composed and arranged scores of gospel songs and anthems, including “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” “Worthy Is the Lamb,” and “Finally Home.” He is director of music publications for Singspiration, which is part of The Zondervan Corporation, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The following interview, conducted by Ruth Dinwiddie, is adapted from “Spectrum,” a program produced by the Moody Broadcasting Network, and used by permission.
What is your main goal in the music that you produce, that you compose?
I have really thought that through and can sum it up in a simple sentence: it is to set God’s truth to music in a simple, attractive form. I believe it was Aristotle who said, “You serve a far better chance of hitting the target if you can see it,” and this is the kind of thing that keeps you on target.
The three key elements are commitment to God’s truth, to the music, and to attractiveness—that it should be beautiful, at least when appropriate musically. I think music should have reality and integrity. If I were setting the Apocalypse to music, for instance, I probably wouldn’t use beautiful nineteenth-century, romantic tunes, but strident, dissonant music.
I am concerned about simplicity; I want our music at Singspiration and the music that I write to be simple. For example, a lot of church pianists don’t play in sharps, so I try to publish a lot of music in flats so they will be able to play it. I try to watch page turns.
What education did you have?
I went first to Moody Bible Institute, then to The King’s College in New York. I went to Dallas ...1
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