This past month, I got the opportunity to go to Camp Kintail’s annual speaker series to hear Bryan Moyer Suderman. Bryan is a singer/songwriter from Stouffville and the founder of SmallTall Music. His mission is “to build up the body of Christ by creating and sharing songs of faith for small and tall.” From the first song he sang with our group, I knew there was something different about Bryan and his music. Not only was his music easy to sing and catchy (like humming-it-all-day-long catchy) but there was also a depth and spiritual quality to his songs that you don’t often find in children’s music. Here are a few things I noticed throughout the day.
(1) His songs pay attention to the Bible. Whether the song focuses on narrating a story from the gospel (like in “On the Emmaus Road”) or whether it draws out a reoccurring theme throughout the Biblical narrative (like in “Peace meal’), Bryan’s lyrics are rooted and grounded in the scriptures and the melody makes them come alive as we sing them together.
(2) He writes you into the song. My son, Ben and I were listening to “Hosanna, Jesus loves Tanya” for the first time and you should have seen the look of joy and amazement when we got to the second verse: “Hosanna, Jesus loves Ben.” Through the lyrics and the calls and responses, you find yourself embedded into the song and a personal connection is made.
(3) He draws you into the creative process. One of the activities he had us do that day was to write a song. Sounds daunting. But his song “When God’s in Charge” provided a framework in which we, in groups of four or five, could begin to imagine, create and be playful with the hopeful words from Isaiah as our guide. In the end, we had several new verses proclaiming what it is like “When God’s in Charge.”
There’s much more I could say about Bryan and his music, but in short, I went away inspired and with bunch of new CDs to listen to with my children. Songs that we can all enjoy whether we are small or tall.
For more information about Bryan Moyer Suderman and his music, visit his website.
Reuben St. Louis
Minister, Nassagaweya Presbyterian Church