Monday, September 26, 2011

New Video!

When we were in Newfoundland, we visited the church where my Dad was baptized. I'm a sucker for singing in an empty church, and the results are here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back to Church Sunday

What a full and rich day!

Today was "Back to Church" Sunday in the Anglican Church - a day when people are invited to return to the church, or just visit for the first time.

This morning, we played the always friendly St. John's Weston. We shared the music for the service with the music director, Marianne Gast, so the congregation got a good mix of organ, piano, choir, and our guitar-driven sound. This church has a tight but welcoming community, and it was awesome to hear them sing out!

St. John's Weston

In the evening, we played with our worship band for The Gathering at St. John's York Mills. We had an awesome team with piano, keyboard, percussion, guitar, 3 vocalists, and saxophone.

To emphasize the theme of 'community', we sang Gerald's song "Every Church is a Small Town," which was inspired by events and people at St. John's. Some members of the congregation heard it at our Fireside Concert, but it was powerful to finally sing it in the church itself. I'm always so proud of Gerald when we sing that song, but never more than tonight. The reaction was potent. We received feedback at the church and even via Facebook, and I can honestly say - it's been humbling.

As a planner and an organizer, I find there are times when the business side of being a musician can get distracting. But then there are days like this, when we get a glimpse into how much our music, our art, can affect the lives around us. It's a more-than-gentle reminder of the real priorities of the 'job'...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Burlington House Concert

Earlier this year, my parents decided they wanted to host an Infinitely More house concert. Our original plan was to sing in the garden, but between recent rains and a neighbour's crazy lawn mower, we made a last minute decision to move indoors.

The living/dining room was actually a fantastic setting. We turned the dining table into a product table, our SoloAmp provided the perfect amount of sound, and the audience sat in a cozy cluster of chairs. During the intermission, everyone wandered out on the deck to enjoy the sunshine and refreshments.

Our house concert set up...

We performed the show we developed on our East Coast Tour. We've been focusing on worship services for the past few weeks, and it felt great to do the show again. And it's always fantastic to have an audience who's ready to smile, laugh, and sing along.

One of the audience members took lots of photos, so I'll post them as soon as I get them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Challenge of Choosing Worship Music

One of the great challenges of being a worship leader is choosing music for the weekly service.

How many songs?
Fast songs?
Slow songs?
Not too many slow!
Old songs?
New songs?
Didn't we do that last week?
What's the scripture reading?
What's the sermon theme?
What's the liturgical season?
That song has too many verses!
That team member hates that song!
That key is too high/low, has too many sharps/flats, needs a capo for the guitar and a transposed chart for the sax player...

I've heard the process compared to a doing a jigsaw puzzle, walking a tight rope, and being a DJ.

Gerald using his iPhone to tune his guitar.

Today, I've been in all day planning mode. Still a few gaps to fill, but mostly happy with our choices.

Of course, tonight I may have some kind of worship concert dream and then have to redo the whole list in the morning!

And still, it's one of my favourite parts of the job...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11

How can we worship today and not think about the events of 10 years ago?

I remember watching the second plane hit.

I remember walking outside, and the streets of downtown Toronto being freakishly quiet.

I remember our church gathering that night to pray, sing, and worship.

Today, we led worship at Church of the Messiah in the morning, and at The Gathering tonight. Both services were wonderful and vibrant in their own unique way. We're at Messiah for the next few months, and we're excited about partnering with this creative congregation. This was our first Gathering since July, and it felt awesome to be back at it.

Gerald sang his song "Angels in the Dust" at both services. He wrote it after meeting a first responder. The man had spent a month in the rubble - searching for survivors, and then for victims. We've sung the song a number of times over the years, but singing it today was a whole new experience.

Today felt so personal - hearing the memories of others, recognizing healing, and sharing the trials of forgiveness. Feeling humbled and blessed tonight...

Monday, September 05, 2011

Blog Scooped!

I've been scooped!

Paula Fredericks collects blog posts that reference house concerts. She picked up my post about our Bedford house concert.

You can see it all here.