What an incredible weekend! I’ve attended a lot of music conferences, but I don’t think I’ve ever attended one that was so organic and creative.
This morning, after a little sleep and a great breakfast, I attended a workshop on blending traditional and contemporary music within a worship service. Then I gathered with my songwriting buddies from yesterday. While I was out last night, they wrote the verses and finished the song. It sounded so good! Our group consisted of keyboard, guitar, bass, me on lead vocals, and everyone else on harmony. We had a short but effective rehearsal so I could learn the verses and we could add the harmonies.
I was able to grab a little quiet time to enjoy the beauty of the day, then another quick rehearsal, and then the closing worship. Last night, people gathered in workshops to write the service. Some wrote prayers and liturgy, some planned the music and wrote a new song, and others designed the space.
This afternoon, we gathered in the main hall and sat in chairs arranged in a circle. The service opened with prayer and music, and what followed was spiritual and creative and beautiful. Every prayer and reading was detailed and special. Andrew Donaldson’s ‘musical homily’ addressed the question “What was Jesus up to?” The music was carefully planned, yet felt spontaneous and free. Our song went really well, and by the second chorus, everyone was singing along. The whole thing was so moving and beautiful - why can’t church be like this all the time? Therein lies the challenge...
It will take a while for me to recognize all the things I’ve gained from this weekend. I have new friends and new musical connections. I have a full list of resources. I’m part of a new song. I sang lots of harmony and gained a new confidence on the djembe. I had a deeply moving spiritual experience. I laughed and told stories and ate pie and laughed some more.
Good weekend, indeed.