Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stamps-Baxter - Day 8

Another late one! I'm just going on the fact that I know I can sleep Saturday!

I spent a good part of the morning in the parking lot. Not literally! The "parking lot" is a binder we're using where we store all the feedback, issues, and suggestions to work on for next year's school. As always, there are things that can be improved, and I've also suggested a few new elective classes. It's great to see the enthusiasm for this school. We've already had several people offer to volunteer in different ways for next year's school.

The latter part of the morning involved a great session of group singing. The focus was on singing new songs, not for performance sake, but just to try them out. I love sight reading, so this was great fun for me. I even got the shapes real good on one song! (say that with a strong Southern accent and it totally works!)

After lunch, I went back in to Miss Teri's class to do some more work with her young'uns. They're such a creative group that I thought we could try some songwriting. Some of them are already writing their own songs, so I got them in pairs so the 'experienced' writers could inspire the newbies. First, we took the lyric for "Jesus Loves Me" and studied the basic structure of the song. I then asked them to pick a subject, and write a verse and chorus to the tune of "Jesus Loves Me". I know they can make up tunes, but I thought this might encourage them to write with rhythm and form. It was awesome! At the end of 30 minutes, we had one full song, one almost-done song, and 2 half songs. I was so proud of them!

I finally got to spend a bit more time in Allison's performance class. She and Mike Allen spent a fair bit of time talking about the proper way to handle yourself in different church situations. Stuff like how to handle long line-ups of talkative people at your product table when you're dropping tired, and how to arrange your song set and your patter for different churches and venues. Great stuff. Then we heard some great performances. You can see already how people are taking her classes to heart and coming in with well-rehearsed songs. And then there are some people who are stepping outside their comfort zones and sharing their testimonies and trying solos for the first time. So inspiring to see their honesty and their open hearts!

Right after class I ran home to get Gerald so we could have another songwriting session with Daryl Williams. We booked an hour so we could play him a bunch of songs, but we ended up talking a fair bit about PROs and CCLI - all the technical stuff I still can't get my head around. Gerald did play "Real Big Fan" and, since Daryl wasn't there on Saturday, we did "My Child is Dancing with God". Daryl loved both of them, and we all made plans to keep in touch after the school ends. Yes, we are getting close to that time...

Our class ran late, but I had to run over to the auditorium to see one of my favourite performers: Gordon Mote! I love Gordon! I know I said that about Buddy Greene too, but it's all true. I'm such a Gordon fan. I've had the chance to get to know him and his manager, Bob, over the past year. Actually, I first met them at their Stamps-Baxter appearance last year. Last year, many people still hadn't heard of Gordon, and I spent the entire week before the concert hyping him up. And, of course, he only exceeded expectations. Tonight, Gordon did some of his classics, like "Gospel Ship", but he also did a lot of material off his new album. This man is prolific! He's only been in full-time ministry for a few years, but in that time he's put out 6 CDs. And they're all incredible! I haven't listened to the actual CD yet, but the songs sounded great tonight. Very soulful, of course!

After the concert, we entered into the world of auditions again, and we ran until 11:00. Crazy long days! There were some great performances tonight. I think every child in the school tried out as a soloist or in a group, and that's excellent. One of my favourite groups was the Hackett ensemble - my friend Karen, her husband Steve, and their 7 children. They sang in harmony, and it was incredible!

Loooong day. So ready for some sleep, but I'm not ready for the weekend yet. If I'm being completely honest, I really don't want this school to end yet! It's just going by far too quickly!

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