Publications

front cover 062716 resized.jpg

In Their Own Words

Although slavery and Spirituals have been the subject of many books, this is the first to place the music squarely within the reality of slave life. In addition to surveying the musical styles, performance practices, and melodic and rhythmic characteristics of Spirituals, Dr. Guenther’s account weaves a succinct history of slavery in America into the role of singing and religion in the lives of the enslaved.

This book directly correlates slave narratives and interviews to the themes of Spirituals and the times and places that gave birth to them. With this indispensable context for the informed interpretation of Spirituals in concerts and worship services, performers, conductors, and listeners will be motivated to look anew to Spirituals for encouragement and inspiration today.

If spirituals express the soul of a people whose unimaginable enslavement in the United States birthed a genre of song that communicates hope, love, forgiveness, longing, sorrow, and the promise of eternal life with God, then Eileen Guenther’s book, In Their Own Words expresses the soul of the story itself. Dr. Guenther’s brilliantly explored, thoroughly researched and compassionately written book is a comprehensive telling of the origins, structure, testimonials and performance practice of the spiritual. The book is an essential addition to the body of scholarship on the spiritual, and a thoughtful telling of the history and meaning behind the music and the people whose songs were born of bitterness yet speak of love, sung in bondage yet abound in freedom...songs that sing through successive generations and all cultures in ways that resonate and will continue to resonate in today’s struggling world and beyond. Dr. Guenther’s work stands as a towering monument to the living, loving, heartbreaking, inspiring message of the spiritual.
— Marilyn Biery
This encyclopedic work by Dr. Guenther should be in everyone’s library. It is written not only for working musicians, but for anyone interested in music that has come to represent our society, particularly the Negro Spirituals.

The scope of her research is breathtaking, yet nearly 500 pages reads with the ease of a page-turning novel, with passion, humanity and spirit pouring forth.

Immensely helpful for scholars and musicians, and a fabulous read for all.
— William
 
book cover 050412.jpg

Rivals or a Team?

Collaboration between clergy and musicians is vital to the ministry of the Christian church. This book explores the importance of teamwork, identifying ways in which musicians and clergy can exercise their separate roles effectively and suggesting strategies for building supportive relationships. Including heartfelt testimonies from musicians and clergy, Guenther takes a clear-eyed look at conflict, reasons musicians leave a church, and approaches for transition when the situation just does not work any longer.

This distinguished church musician and seminary professor encourages musicians and clergy to work together with mutuality and collegiality in order to fulfill the promise of their ministry.

Your book and presentation are a tremendous help to both musicians and clergy as they face the issues of working together as a team.
— Darrell Woomer
This book was VERY balanced - many direct testimonials from both musicians and pastors. Some stories will leave you aghast. Other testimonials capture rewarding experience that most of us hope to achieve in our careers! Eileen Guenther addresses many of these issues in a very down to earth manner. She gently reminds musicians that they are a part of the larger ministry of the church. And she suggests to pastors that they respect and value their musicians. This book will help people have a healthy understanding and appreciation for what may be occurring in a present or past church setting.
— Sebastian
Such a great book giving practical advice and a balanced approach to church music.
— Pat
I see this book more relevant as a hands on guide for pastors and musicians.
— Bobby
A non-judgmental, practical guide to surviving staff tensions in a church, lots of specific advice and wisdom from the author’s experience. I recommend it to all pastors and musicians.
— Dave
Very helpful, relevant. Gave specific ideas for resolving conflict and put into words feelings and thoughts that might hinder positive relationships between clergy and musicians.
— Cheryl
Well researched and a very helpful tool.
— William
I wanted to take a minute to tell you what a lifeline your book “Rivals or a Team” has been for me the past year. I have a couple of young pastor contacts to whom I have sent copies of your book. My hope is that, through resources like your book, these situations can be headed off before things go irrevocably bad. Thank you for writing such an insightful, helpful book.
— Arie
The section on conflict resolution is the single best exposition of this complex subject that I’ve ever read!
— Thatcher
Your book and presentation are a tremendous help to both musicians and clergy as they face the issues of working together as a team.
— Darrell
I was very impressed with it. I can’t think of anything you didn’t cover. The book is comprehensive, revealing and fair. It is instructive and should be used as a textbook in seminaries and schools of music. Organists already established or entering into the church music field should read this book and keep it close to their music books and Bibles.
— Sue
The reflections of grief shared in chapter 10 were all too familiar to the situation I experienced 12 or more years ago. At that time, I wish I had had access to the sage advice you lay out in the earlier chapters.
— James
Such a great book giving practical advice and a balanced approach to church music. So many times, musicians consider themselves ‘Artists in Residence’ rather than a Pastoral Musicians. Great reading and invaluable information.
— Anonymous
I see this book more relevant as a hands on guide for pastors and musicians. It is a pretty cut and dry book, however quite informative and worthy of its subject.
— Anonymous
A non-judgmental, practical guide to surviving staff tensions in a church, lots of specific advice and wisdom from the author’s experience. I recommend it to all pastors and musicians.
— Anonymous
Excellent source of material for both clergy and musicians as they struggle to work together for excellent and meaningful worship.
— Anonymous

Reviews

The Choral Journal, March 2015
The Hymn, Summer 2013
CrossAccent, March 2013
Worship Arts, November-December 2012
[click on each title to access]

Articles about Rivals or a Team

Religion News Service, October 2012
Creator Magazine
[click on each title to access]

Articles by Eileen

Lewis Center for Church Leadership, August 2012
[click on each title to access]