Thursday, September 11, 2008

worship confessional (9.07.08)

One thing that's been weird the last year or so for me while leading worship at church has been getting used to in-ear monitors. I like 'em a lot for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that (I think) my tuning improves with them as opposed wedges... the biggest flaw I've encountered is the lack of connection with a congregation--and really, I mean an emotional, internal connection rather than an outward, stage presence type connection. I think I've done a fine job in overcoming the awkwardness of in-ears in terms of whether or not the congregation still relates with me. But this week, while we sang 'Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)' at the last service of the weekend, something really cool happened...

I had taken one ear out, as I sometimes do, so that I could get a little more feel of the congregation singing 'Mighty to Save' which was our second tune... the transition came a little quick and when I put my guitar down and headed over to the piano to start 'Amazing Grace,' I didn't have a chance to put my right in-ear back in. As we started singing, I realized two things: first off, people just love to sing Amazing Grace, so I realized that the congregation was at that glorious point of no return in their worship experience, ready to pour out their voices to our Creator. Secondly, I realized that unlike my acoustic--which is panned pretty hard left (so that I can hear it really well even when I remove my right in-ear)--my piano was panned pretty hard right... so I really couldn't hear it all that well. As much as I love to hear the instrument I'm playing, just for tuning and preventing mistakes, etc. I began to hear the swell of voices--400 to 500 strong in our auditorium just filling the place with His praises. I wasn't about to put my right in-ear back in, and I just bathed in the sound of our voices lifted to Him. It was very cool, and I realized once again what I often miss having both of those suckers pluggin' up my ears.

But I digress... it was a great weekend, and our setlist looked like this:

A Thousand Hallelujahs - (M. Roach)
Mighty to Save - (Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan)
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) - (Tomlin and Co.)

feature tune - I Can Only Imagine (MercyMe) - acoustic version

Hosanna - (Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown)

this post is also part of Sunday Setlists


Fred F. McKinnon said...

What's that "A Thousand Hallelujahs" tune? (grin)

I know the feeling. A couple of suggestions that I'm sure you've already heard a thousand times:

1 - get some ambient mics, not just for the crowd, but for the stage, if possible.

We have two really nice mics - they are discreetly placed on the front of the stage, they capture both the noise on the stage and the crowd singing, and are panned stereo in my ears.

Also - be very careful doing one ear in, one ear out. I love to do that, until I started getting the hard facts of hearing loss from multiple technicians and audiologists. In almost every case you will run the volume way louder in that one ear than if you had both ears going.

My FOH runs my IEM in stereo as well, though, and we've been battling RF interference - I'm the ONLY ONE who gets it ... and it's bad. They have switched out my receiver pack multiple times, and have tried every possible frequency. Somebody else wears that same pack and has no issues. I wear it, and get fizz in and out. Maybe I've got something in my body the radio frequencies don't like! Plus, we're running really nice sennheiser units, and I have the Shure e5 w/ custom molds from Sensaphonics ... so it's great ... I just can relate to missing the "room", though, even WITH the ambient mics ... it's not the same.

Thanks for doing Sunday Setlists each week - #50 next week is quite a goal - I hope we hit #50!

For the Kingdom,
Fred McKinnon

Gary Durbin said...

We have the same heartbeat, my friend. There's nothing more rewarding than hearing the people worship. At practices, frequently, I'll stop and remind our band that something is missing in the mix...the worshipers. That's why the best worship albums are the live ones...except Every Reason Why by Mark Roach of course. Sounds like you had a great weekend.

Dave H. said...

Hey Mark,

I was at the 2nd service and it was great. Also - you did a great job with 'I Can Only Imagine'!!! Thanks,


Lisa E said...

I saw you looking out smiling and knew you were soaking it up. I felt it, too- it was definitely one of those moments you just want to stand and be present in. I was singing loud and loving the whole setlist! Have I told you lately, you rock, my friend. :)

David said...

What a blessing when the church sings! I let 'em loose last week with "Great is Thy Faithfulness" and just shut the band down for the last chorus.

May God keep blessing your songwriting and ministry.