Calvary Baptist Church was the first church to welcome Gerald and me when we moved to Nashville. I met their music director, Don, at an NSAI meeting, and within a few weeks we were singing in their sanctuary. This morning, we returned for an awesome service billed as their Deacon-lead Revival.
The entire service was lead by the men of the congregation. The ladies of the choir sat in the congregation, and the 'mens' choir lead the congregational singing and sang a great anthem by Don called "One Man". The message was delivered by five of the church's deacons. Each man gave a five minute testimony about their walk with God. None of these men were professional speakers, but each one spoke from his heart. The honesty of their testimonies was powerful and moving. Many tissues were used in those 25 minutes.
Gerald played an instrumental during the offering, and then I joined him on harmonies for "A Church Song Broke Me Down." I followed this with "Neighbour", which got the whole church clapping. My Elijah Conference training really came into play during my segues. I wanted to give very short intros to the songs so that our music became a seamless part of the revival theme. I think it all worked out very well, and we got a wonderful response from the congregation.
Visiting Calvary again really got me thinking about how much we've learned in the past 2 years. Some of our accomplishments are easy to see - my CD, radio airplay, Gerald's 150 new songs. But today highlighted the intangible, non-quantifiable things. We're just better. Gerald plays better. We write better. We sing better. And as a duo, my ability to sing harmony and our ability to blend has gotten better. That's no slight on anything we did two years ago, but it's awesome to recognize that living here and being in this city has made a wonderful and positive improvement on our skills and abilities.
The rest of the day was very "Nashville". Gerald had a writing appointment booked for the afternoon, and we wanted to go to lunch. But being Nashville on a Sunday afternoon, most restaurants had a 20-30 minute wait. We ended up at a Chinese buffet that, in addition to the expected items, served duck (always great), frog legs (love 'em!), and crawfish (my first taste - salty but interesting).
After Gerald's appointment, we attended a birthday dinner for our awesome friend, Tom. Tom is a songwriter, painter, and overall awesome human being. After a wonderful feast and several hours of chatting, we turned to the five guitars Tom has lined up in his living room. Gerald and I did a mini-concert of half a dozen songs. Tom and other guests played several of theirs as well. As Gerald played, another guest improvised solo guitar parts. I improvised harmonies. Those who didn't play hummed and clapped and smiled. It was so awesome, and so wonderfully Nashville!