Saturday, July 21, 2007

Stamps-Baxter - Day 5

Today was far and above the best day all week! The morning started in a busy, but not hectic, state. The end of the week brought lots of organizing and 'housework' for the staff. But the real excitement started part-way through the theory session, when I was invited to teach a class! No, I didn't teach theory. Teri Reid invited me to her children's class to teach her students a song. I brought in "Welcome to Bethlehem", which I thought would be a good, fun choice. After singing the song once for them, I passed out the lyric sheets, and we had a brief lesson on song structure. Then we started to sing, and they were great! They learned it so quickly, and by the end we were even working on a little echo part. It was so satisfying! Not only did I get to teach, but I also got to hear my song sung by their gorgeous young voices! Awesome!

I went back to do more busy stuff, and then ran off for another voice lesson with Mr. Glenn. My first year here, I fell in love with a beautiful song by Jack Clark called "It's Unbelievable". We did it in group singing, but I really heard it as a solo ballad in the style of an aria from the old Victorian operettas. So, I brought in a copy to work on it in my lesson. It felt awesome to sing it! I'm going to continue working on it next week.

When lunchtime came, I jumped in the car to run home and bring Gerald back to the school for the afternoon. As soon as I got back to school, I joined in a planning meeting for tomorrow's concert. This thing has turned huge! Allison Durham Speer lead the meeting to organize the set list. There's going to be 2 quartets, 8 alumni soloists, possibly 2 or 3 guest soloists, 2 piano accompanists, and a special appearance by the Speers. We've each been asked to do 3 songs. I chose my 3, but then when they found out Gerald would be there to accompany me, they asked if he'd like to do one of his songs too. Yes, please! Very excited!

Next, Gerald and I ran off to Wakefield building for the real reason that Gerald came to school today: a joint songwriting lesson with Daryl. I wanted to bring in some of my co-writes, and it just made for sense for Gerald to be there too. We started with "The Point of the Song". He really liked it, and only had one small suggestion, which we immediately changed. It's so much easier to sing now! Hopefully, I'll be able to add that change into tomorrow's program. We also played our brand new song, "Fear Knocked, Faith Answered". This song has barely seen the light of day yet, so we were expecting a lot of feedback. But we couldn't have been more wrong! He actually thinks it's pitch ready, and even made a pitching suggestion! Whoo-hoo! And yes, I have followed up on that suggestion already!

By this time, Allison was starting her performance training class, so we sat in to audit. It was a great session, and I know Gerald really appreciated it too. Lots of great advice about being a performer, while also maintaining your authentic purpose of ministry.

Gerald stayed for supper, and then I drove him back home and got myself back to the school in time for the evening's group singing session. I can't believe we'll be recording by Tuesday! Things are sounding good, but I always wish we had more prep time.

Tonight was the traditonal Friday night faculty concert. The past 2 years, they had a Homecoming-style set-up, but this year, it was more concert style. Wess (the organizer of tomorrow's concert) opened with a few songs, followed by Heath, a theory and percussion teacher. Heath did 2 of his own songs, with his own back-up tracks. The songs were great, especially the ballad that prays that people will recognize Christ in us. One of the highlights came from a solo by Miss Mary Tom, with Ben on piano, and Aunt Faye and Ben on harmonies. Next was Allison, and she did 3 songs from her latest album. Before the last song, she mentioned that her voice was tired from all the teaching, but that she still wanted to sing out for us. She ended with "I'm Bound for that City", and she just ripped it out. It was incredible. They always say you should leave a piece of you on the stage, but Allison just poured her heart, soul, and everything inside her onto the stage! So inspiring!

Ben came on to do a few solos, and then called out Allison and another theory teacher, Sean, to do a Speer classic, 'Didn't it Rain". First off, it's a short song, but it's a killer song! Ben does all the work, singing verse after verse of high-speed patter, but Mary Tom steals the whole song when she just shouts out "Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day!" (If you've heard the song, you know what I mean.) They did that song about 3 times, maybe more, before they finally closed the show with a few announcements and a prayer.

After the show, we were slammed with people wanting CDs of the teachers, and just doing all the things that need doing before the weekend. I missed performance opportunity, and I was too tired to stick around for the jam session. But still, I'm smiling! What a day!

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