Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Stamps-Baxter - Day 7

I thought I might get to bed early tonight. Clearly, all these shape-notes have made me delusional!

This morning started bright and early at 8:00am with devotions with Connie, and it was great. Her opening statement was, "Are you too busy?". (Gerald, don't laugh!) She went on to talk about Mary and Martha, and how Martha was flitting around trying to make things perfect, while Martha took the time to sit in the presence of God. She then asked if we are a Mary or a Martha. Oh my, I am sooo Martha! Always needing to 'take care of things', making sure everything gets done and gets done right. It was a great reminder to just take time to 'be still and know that God is God'. Great way to start a busy day!

Then, the recording began! Each year, the school records a cd of the songs we've worked on in group singing. The cds aren't marketed outside the school, but they are a great keepsake of this fantastic experience. I lost track, but we probably recorded a dozen or more songs from both songbooks. Everything is recorded live-off-the-floor, in the same set-up we've used all week. We sit in our four voice parts, and 5 mics are set up to capture the sound. An additional mic is used for the piano.

We started at 8:30am. Mighty early by my standards. (Psychic note to my future producer: don't ever expect me to record at 8:30 in the morning!) But for our needs, the morning start was pretty good. At least we were fresh to start. We went until almost 1:00, so people were decidedly unfresh by then. This pushed our lunchtime off by an hour, so we lost part of our theory class. Most people didn't complain about this. But since I've finally found a good theory class for me, I was a little bummed out.

For theory today, we had a special visit from Wayne Haun - songwriter, producer, and arranger extraordinaire. I actually did a workshop with him at Write About Jesus last year. Today he was there for a Q&A. I had to leave for a voice lesson, so I only got in one Q. I asked about what I should be looking for in a producer for an indie album. Very very helpful! Wish I could have stayed for more.

Voice today was awesome! Wish I could drive to Texas every week to study with Mr. Glenn! (Yes, Glenn is his first name, but here in the south, we call people Mr or Miss and their first name. You may call me Miss Allison!) Glenn and I continued to work on high notes and smooth tones. Then Scott, my duet partner, came in for the second half of the lesson so we could get some feedback on "I've Just Seen Jesus". It was great! We did it once, and he offered feedback all the way through. Then we did more work acapella, and then again with the track. I think we actually went overtime. It was just awesome!

We were planning on singing it for Allison's class today, but right when it got to our turn, she realized that we had gone before, so she decided to only see people who haven't had a turn yet. Fair, but poopy.

We did more group singing again tonight. We had some fun sight-reading new stuff, but we also continued to work on the other songs. We will sing some of them in the closing program Friday night.

Tonight's concert was Buddy Greene. You may never have heard of Buddy, but you've probably heard of his song, "Mary Did You Know". Yes, Mark Lowrey did write the words, but Buddy Greene wrote that haunting and completely singable melody. Tonight's show was different from all the rest. With the exception of 2 songs, everything was acoustic, with Buddy singing and playing guitar (a Martin) and harmonica. He did Southern Gospel, hymns, and lots of rootsy, bluesy stuff. On several songs, he brought up people from the audience to play an egg shaker or sing harmony. And there was lots of opportunity to sing along on the hymns. Tonight transcended concert status and became Church. It was great. So entertaining and musical and authentic and spiritual. Awesome!

So, since we couldn't do our duet in Allison's class, we decided to do it tonight in performance training. If you don't know "I've Just Seen Jesus", let me fill you in: It's a huge duet about seeing Jesus alive on Easter morning. Each singer is required to sing about 2 octaves worth of range, and my top note is a high B. Crazy! It needs lots of stamina and lots of support. I was worried about singing it at the end of a long day, but that was our time slot. I took a deep breath, asked God to take control, and started. It was great! Scott and I got our parts right, held our long notes together, and hit all our high notes. But mostly, we just told the story. We told the most important, most fundamental part of Christianity. Jesus is not dead. He's alive!

The whole experience was very satisfying. I always figure, if you don't fall off the edge of the stage, it's a good performance. (heehee!) But really, it was a challenge of a song to sing, and I feel I met and rose to that challenge. I'm also just so thrilled that it reached into people's hearts! I'm so glad we had the opportunity to give this awesome message in this powerful way. That's what all of this is all about.

The time is going too quickly here! Must find a way to make the days go slower!

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