Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Rehearsal Buddy...

The puppies always want to be around us when we're rehearsing.
Sometimes, they bring a ball and try to join in our 'game.'
Other times, they ask to get picked up.
They love it when I hold them while I'm singing.

Tonight, Sebastian asked to get up while I was working out the harmonies for Gerald's new song.

If I can ever teach him to sing a third harmony line,
we're buying a bus and taking the show on the road!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New photos!

I've just posted our photos from Saturday's Music Team Workshop!

You can see them on our Infinitely More Facebook page here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Music Team Workshop

Today, we lead the first-ever combined Music Team Workshop at St. John's York Mills. We invited members of the choir, morning worship team, and Gathering worship band for a time of learning and fellowship.

Gerald teaching the importance of a great song idea.

Patrick, the church's new organist and choir director, spoke about his plan for the morning worship program. I introduced the idea that everyone - whether a player or a singer - is not just a musician, but a 'worship leader.' Gerald taught a great segment on songwriting, focusing on the importance of a great idea and a great hook. We also shared our plan to start a monthly Christian songwriting group, which was met with lots of enthusiasm.

After we worked everyone's brains, we all relaxed with a feast of Thai food. Some people borrowed training DVDs, some shared ideas from the workshop, but mostly there was just lots of chatting and laughing.

I'm so excited that we've been able to introduce workshops to our church's music program. I think they're a great tool, not just for teaching skills, but especially for building community.

I'll let you know when I post photos...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Those Autumn Leaves...

A little glimpse of the changing season:

Virginia creeper

Wild rose hips

I love these colours!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dunking the Baby

We started our morning at Church of the Messiah for a service of baptism and communion. I'm a huge fan of baptism services - adults or babies, they always move me. I love the idea that we're welcoming a new "family member."

I've seen lots of baptisms - mostly babies, some sprinkle-on-the-head adults, and a few full immersion adult baptisms - but never a full immersion infant baptism!

Stained glass at Church of the Messiah

Instead of using the stone font, a large galvanized tub was moved to the centre of the worship space and filled with warm water. It was draped with a decorative cloth and became the centerpiece of the service. It was the perfect height when the children gathered to watch the baptism. After the prayers, we lead the congregation in singing "Wade in the Water" as the baby changed out of her fancy dress. As Tay prayed the words of baptism, he slowly lowered the baby into the water, until he gently covered her nose to dip her - quickly and completely - under the water and out again.

It was a beautiful image of a life changed, purified, and transformed.

In the evening, we led our worship band for The Gathering. There are some nights when it just flows, and this was one of them. Every song felt like it was in the right place at the right time. People lifted their voices and their hearts. The message was challenging and insightful. Gerald sang "If They Knew It Was Me" - one of the most powerful songs he's ever written.

Our Sundays are busy, but I wouldn't change them for the world.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cool things about today:

- singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" as the offertory at Church of the Messiah
(yes, it fit the Gospel!)

- debuting our new original setting of Psalm 126

- thoughtful, inspiring messages by Rev. Tay Moss and Rev. Anne Crosswait

- singing "I Can See Clearly Now" with Gerald

- playing with our awesome 7-piece band at The Gathering

- glorious sunshine the second weekend of October!

Take a little time this Thanksgiving to count your blessings...


I took all these photos at St. John's York Mills today.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Jesus Jam photos...

... are now up on our Facebook page.

I've also added a few photos to our
"Making Music" album from our recent visit to
St. John's Weston.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Why I Love Mondays

Our Sundays have become really full:

  • early morning rehearsal
  • sound check
  • morning service
  • break for lunch
  • private rehearsal
  • band rehearsal
  • Gathering service
  • Chinese food and television

Sometimes we shake it up with Thai food and a movie, but you get the picture.

I'm definitely not complaining. We feel incredibly blessed to make a living doing what we love. I'm just acknowledging the reality that for most people in ministry, Sunday isn't our day of rest. And working in music always feels like a 24-7 job.

Last spring I found myself feeling completely overworked. There's this myth out there that if you're self-employed, you can pick and choose your work hours. The real danger is that you can actually end up working every day - taking gigs when they arise, writing songs when they come, arranging rehearsals around everyone's busy schedules, and constantly tackling site updates, music selection, booking, grant applications, writing newsletters, organizing gear...

So now, we take Mondays off.

I've taken to putting a vacation reply on my email so I don't feel obligated to check it "just in case". We try to avoid any kind of house work, car repair, or errands. And the best part is if we do go out somewhere, it's usually pretty quiet because the rest of the city is having a workday.

The only goal is to rest, reflect, spend time with family, and face a day with no expectations.

If you're self-employed, I highly recommend choosing your own day of rest, ordering some hot and sour soup, and reminding yourself that "rest" can sometimes be more productive than "work".

FYI - I've dated this for Monday, but let's be honest, I'm writing it on Tuesday and just adjusting the date. Nothing this solid was actually accomplished yesterday...

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Jesus Jam at Church of the Messiah

Today was full so this blog will not be.

We had great services today, starting at Church of the Messiah in the morning and finishing with The Gathering tonight. Our 8-piece band at The Gathering included a violin solo on "My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness" - beautiful!

After the morning service, the children of Messiah were invited to join us for a Jesus Jam. We chose Hillsong Kids' "Let Your Light Shine" - which is crazy catchy and still ringing through my head - and invited the kids to bring their instruments and play along.

We had 2 guitarists, 1 violinist, and group of children who wanted to play shakers. The real challenge was the vast range of experience in the instrumentalists. Gerald was awesome in the way he taught the song to each child, finding ways for even the most inexperienced to feel included.

While we were teaching the song, some children were drawing on a large canvas. In the end, they all came together and played the song in our Rock Star Finale. It was a lot of work, but I think each child was able to learn something.

I'll be posting photos later this week...