Monday, December 29, 2008

celebrate the new year with me and Mandisa!

Hey all, just a quick invite to anyone who hasn't already heard... this Wednesday (New Year's Eve) I'll be opening for Mandisa (of American Idol fame) at a brand-new nightspot in Wentzville, MO called Exodus.

Tickets include the entertainment, food, party favors (not sure what that means, but hey) and a non-alcoholic champagne toast to ring in the new year! Hope to see you all there!

Ticket prices increase at the door, so grab your tickets now at (just type 'Mark Roach' in the search box)

Friday, December 12, 2008

worship confessional (12.07.08)

second weekend of the advent season... I'm probably as excited about the worship sets this Christmas season as I've been in the 9+ years (this is actually the 10th Christmas) I've been leading worship here at MSC. It's kinda funny 'cause I have this odd reputation of hating Christmas music, which couldn't be further from the truth. The thing is, I feel like my job is to help facilitate an atmosphere of authentic communication with our Creator during the first 20 minutes or so of our services. Too often, people long to sing Christmas music for the wrong reasons... to satiate the desire for that warm, fuzzy feeling they get when they sing them, to hold on to memories of childhood and/or fond years past, or even just because they really, really like 'em. I actually LOVE Christmas music for those same reasons... but the truth is, none of those accomplish the objective for which we show up in a worship service: to communicate with our Creator in worship.

This year, I've embraced the idea of interjecting the wonderful Christmas hymns of our faith into compelling worship sets in a way that doesn't compromise the objective of our time together. I think (I sure hope) that people have felt that we've been successful at doing that. We continued what has been our m.o. this year with Christmas sets by inserting a small piece of 'We Three Kings' into the middle of the set... just the 'Star of Wonder' piece. Here's how the setlist looked:

Beautiful One - (Tim Hughes)
Indescribable - (Laura Story)
('Star of Wonder' tag)
Break Through - Tommy Walker
O Come O Come Emmanuel

feature tune: Surrender - Marc James
(w/ chorus of trad. hymn 'I Surrender All')

The set felt really good to me this week. Again, transitions were key, and we really never stopped at all between any of the songs. The trickiest was the transition between the 'Star of Wonder' tag and 'Break Through' as I had to switch from capo 1 / cut capo 3 to open strings, removing both capos... the other instrumentalists walked from the F to an F/A, Bb then landed on C, which is where I started 'Break Through.'

We served communion this weekend, during which we sang a 'Surrender' medley, if you will. Starting with the Marc James tune from Vineyard, we pressed through to a couple big choruses at the end and then the bottom dropped out, leaving only a guitar, piano and Beth, one of our vocalists, taking over with the chorus of 'I Surrender All.' Then I played the melody on the acoustic a few times through, accompanied by the piano, before we began building up to the end of the service. 'I Surrender All' was reprised first, several times, and then we launched back into a full-blown chorus or two of the Marc James tune before our Pastor gave the blessing.

Equally as excited about this weekend, can't wait to tell you how it went...

this post is also a part of Sunday Setlists

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

the perfect tree

yeah... this year was very cool 'cause, while we always go pick out a real tree at a Christmas tree lot, this year we got to pick out a tree at the new Christmas tree lot at our own church! And at the tree lot we're treated to roasted chesnuts, cookies, cocoa and coffee... very cool. so here are the time-lapse photos, from yesterday's arrival into our home to the final touches today... come on, this alone should sell a gazillion trees from our lot!

first the tree (and the stand, of course)

add the lights (and the coolest star ever)

next comes the silver beads

finally, the ornaments and tree skirt... the perfect tree!
(at least to us)

Friday, December 5, 2008

blog brevity?

are blogs supposed to be short? Someone just eluded to that in an e-mail to me. ooops.

then why twitter? :)


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

worship confessional (11.30.08)

This past weekend was one of those odd first-sunday-of-advent weekends to me 'cause it was still November. We had just celebrated Thanksgiving, and we're not even in December yet, but we roll out the Christmas message series and start lacing the worship sets with Christmas tunes... good stuff, though. It was cold and a little bit snowy (not saturday, but it was on sunday) so it was, as they say, 'beginning to look a lot like Christmas.'

I've been working really hard on our transition game... that kinda sounds like something a hockey coach would say... anyway, I've been focusing on really making our worship sets feel like a continuous moment in the presence of God, you know? As far as we've come over nine years in our music ministry, I admittedly have not focused on that near enough. So now I'm really being intentional about that.

This weekend we did a bit more of this new 'bridge-swapping' thing I've been doing... where I'll take bridges and tags of different tunes and throw 'em in the middle of others... it's kinda cool. We only did one Christmas tune this week, although we sang one of my tunes 'The Least I Can Do' which discusses the birth of Jesus in the first verse. I led that song from piano and then went straight into 'O Come All Ye Faithful' ... after we'd done two verses and two choruses, we just vamped on the 'O come let us adore Him' tag several times and the drums entered as we ramped back up into the end of the song. Then we through the very last tag of 'The Least I Can Do' back at the end to wrap up the set. It worked pretty well. Here was our setlist:

You Are Good - (Israel Houghton)
Holy is the Lord - (Tomlin & co.)
The Least I Can Do - (M. Roach)
O Come All Ye Faithful - trad.

feature tune - How to Save a Life - The Fray

I Will Always Love Your Name - Paul Oakley

yeah... I had eluded to it last week on twitter, but that 'How to Save...' tune is all kinds of tough to play and sing at the same time. I love a good challenge, though, and I got through it pretty well all three services. Unfortunately, my best time through the whole song was in run-through on Sunday morning before first service. oh, well :)

Also, at the end of the service we sang 'I Will Always Love Your Name' again (it's a 'thank you' song, and we had it in our set last week) but after the Pastor gave the final blessing at the end, we inserted the 'O come let us adore Him' tag again--different tempo, different key--before we sang the final chorus out. Kinda threaded that tune and sentiment through the service a bit... at least that's what I was trying to do... well, three more ahead before Christmas! stay tuned :)

this post is also a part of Sunday Setlists