One of the fabulous performers at the CWE showcase on Friday was Elayna Boynton. After staring at her, I realized that we had actually met 2 years ago at 'Write About Jesus' in Missouri! Anyhoo, we got to talking and she told me about her gig tonight, so I went to check it out.
Cafe Forte is a weekly event held in a cafe in the Music Row area. Each Monday, they feature 2 music acts. The music is a variety of styles, but always Christian, or Christian-based. Between the acts, they have a time of fellowship where strangers are encouraged to become friends, and bonds are built within the music community.
Elayna has great songs and a fantastic voice (even when she's fighting laryngitis!), and the second act, Chris Eddy and his band, just rocked, so the music was great.
But it was also wonderful to meet other Christians in a low-pressure, supportive environment. I met the organizers of the event and passed on my demo (prayers lifted!), and even met a woman that may end up being a co-writer! Oh, and I saw people I know! 2 of them! I'm starting to realize that living in Nashville is going to be a lot like living in St. John's - Every time you go out, you must be prepared to run into someone you know. (No more running around town in pjs with no make-up!)
I have another way this place is like Newfoundland: Guess what they say about the weather?
"If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."
Omiword! We grew up saying that!
Final thought: For the last few years, I've been hearing Christian writers talk about doing gigs in 'coffee houses'. In Toronto, no one sings in a cafe, and on the rare moments they do, it's certainly not Christian music. But down here, the cafe is a valued venue for Christian artists. It allows a space that is smoke and alcohol free, where a Christian organizer can set up a regular or special event. It allows Christian music to move outside the walls of the church and into the "real" world. And it allows the musicians to sing songs that may be Christian or Christian-inspired, but that wouldn't necessarily be sung in a worship service.
Also, a lot of churches here actually have, for lack of a better word, cafe ministries. Some have a fully working cafe in their lobby that is open before and after Sunday morning services for fellowship time. Others actually meet in a room in a church, school, etc, where they set up a cafe and they hold worship in that environment - sitting at tables, singing praise songs, listening to the message, discussing ideas.
It's a little strange to see people walking into the church with their lattes in their hands, but if it's making people more comfortable walking through the doors of the church, I can't really argue with that. After all, God calls us to "come just as you are"...