Tuesday, January 20, 2009

worship confessional (1.18.09)

Ok, so services went great this weekend overall, but I did have my most embarrassing worship moment of 2009 (so far) ... I'm wondering has anyone else ever done this? We were singing Matt Redman's 'You Never Let Go' and you know how the bridge lyric is kinda borrowed from the second verse lyric? Well... I was singing the second verse--my mind was really resonating with the truth in the words, too--and I just totally abandoned the verse and ended up just singing the bridge, albeit an octave down. I looked up at the rear screen and realized it and I did two things: 1) I stopped singing. 2) I said into my mic, "let's sing that 2nd verse one more time... sorry about that." (at that point, I felt like I had to kinda apologize for basically ignoring the form of the song with my eyes closed) yeah... it was a bummer, but only at one service. :)

Setlist went like this:

Hosanna - Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown
Forever - Tomlin
You Never Let Go - Matt/Beth Redman
The Wonderful Cross - Tomlin & co.

feature tune - Gone by Switchfoot

Filled with Your Glory - Jon/Tim Neufeld

As you know if you've been reading my confessionals for the past month or more, we've been trying to really spend time making the transitions meaningful in our sets lately. This week's transitions were especially fun, one in particular. The set started in G with 'Hosanna,' and we pushed the tempo just a bit so we could just leave it there (122) into 'Forever.' We do the key change a la MWS at the end of 'Forever' so we landed in A on the final downbeat, which is where 'You Never Let Go' starts. When we ended 'You Never Let Go', we got rid of the click just for the final down chorus and then restarted on the final chord with the tempo for 'Wonderful Cross'... we slowly moved through the A, F#m, E progression of 'You Never Let Go' (2 measures per chord) and then when we struck the D, our bass guitar player immediately went into the melodic piece at the beginning of 'Wonderful Cross.' The other thing that was cool (at least I thought) is that I kept my capo on the second fret and played 'Wonderful Cross' with C voicings, using the C/G chord as the primary one chord. If you've never done that, you'll find that it produces an amazing undertone and actually sounds you're playing a note lower than your guitar can even play (without re-tuning of course)... anyway, try that sometime, it's kinda fun.

'Gone' was a blast... that's just a great song, and Ryan, the Associate Music Director, made tracks with a bunch of the loops, tams and digital artifacts in the song. That's always fun. Hey, I'd love feedback on some of your embarrassing worship moments if you have any like me :) Hope all of your weekends went well and God was glorified above all else.

This post is also a part of Sunday Setlists

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

worship confessional (1.11.09)

2009. seriously.

anyway... I've been back into 4-song sets again recently, so that's what we did this weekend. The set felt great, but as it turned out I pro'ly should have done a 3-song set... we went ├╝ber long (is that geeky to include the umlaut? hmmm.) at any rate... setlist looked like this:

Happy Day (Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon)
From the Inside Out (Joel Houston)
You Are (M. Roach)
You Gave Your Life Away (Paul Baloche, Kathryn Scott)

feature tune - God and Money (Jill Phillips)

Here With You (M. Roach)

When we rehearsed the set on Tuesday, my first concern was the massive jump in tempo from 'Happy Day' to 'From the Inside Out'... you know I've been very cognizant about transitions lately. We do everything to a click and we were jumping from like 144 to 74 I think. At some point it occurred to me that 72 is exactly half of 144 and if we could get away with that for the second tune, we could actually do the transition in time... we'd just change from quarters to eighths on the metronome. That helped a ton and it ended up feeling great. We run tracks on 'You Are' primarily for the drum loop (which I would totally give to you worship leaders if you ever wanted it by the way... I've given it away to some of you already) so that transition is a little harder 'cause we were moving from Bb to G and I had to add the cut capo... drummer did a good job reading exactly when to trigger the loop on Sunday after we had a little bit of an awkward pause on Saturday. Not a huge deal, but if you know me you know I don't like to allow any obstacles into the worship set. Pauses aren't obstacles in worship... awkward pauses are :)

After 'You Are' we seemlessly went into 'You Gave...' and... I'm telling you... that's probably my vote for worship tune of the year. It's just so amazing in it's simplicity. I'd still love to pen a worship tune with Paul Baloche... who knows, maybe 2009 is the year for that... Our message was about debt and the lyric my sins are gone | my debt's been paid really resonated with me in worship, so I discussed that a bit before we sang the last chorus... it's funny, we so readily accept Christ's death and resurrection for the most overwhelming, uncontrollable debt imaginable--the debt of our own sin--but we're often so tentative about seeking freedom from other types of debt from the same divine source. I think that prepared some hearts in a different way for the message that Pastor Mike delivered--which was awesome.

We were all set to do a song by the single most influencial artist/songwriter in my life Glen Phillips... the song is called Don't Need Anything -- it's on an amazing record called 'Winter Pays for Summer'... anyway, we switched gears at the last minute, less than a day before the Saturday service run-through, and decided to go with 'God and Money' by Jill Phillips (not related to Glen, we just really wanted to do a song by a Phillips, I guess) and, of course, my wife tore it up. :)

Ended with my newest tune 'Here With You' which is the only song mentioned without an iTunes link, since the song is not available yet. Can't wait 'til it is... I'm excited to hear what you all think of that one.

This post is also a part of Sunday Setlists

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Conner plays and sings 'A Thousand Hallelujahs'

ok... this is simply too much for me to handle :) hope you enjoy! Make sure to watch 'til the end as you'll see the 5 year-old in him really show :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

worship confessional (1.4.09)

well, after after a Christmas season littered with music and media galore, our first weekend of '09 started off with a fairly simple, straight-forward service. We kicked off a brand new message series about money, of all things. As odd as that seemed to myself, our Worship Design Team and much of the congregation I'm sure, I have to give plenty of kudos to our pastors who prayed diligently months ago about this and have felt called to launch the new year with this, the topic on just about every single person's mind in America. I can't begin to question such prayerfully executed planning.

By the way, feel free to vote in this week's webpoll, to the left there. It's a bit provocative and none of my business, I know... but it's anonymous :)

The series, brilliantly titled "The Other 90%" (I thought it was brilliant, anyway, and no, I didn't come up with it :) is really meant to focus on how Christians are supposed to live with, deal with, steward, etc. the 90% of everything we are blessed with that we're actually allowed to keep. Using the tithe as sort of a underlying premise but not the focus is an interesting take so far.

Setlist looked like this:

Filled With Your Glory (Jon & Tim Neufeld)
Be Glorified (Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio)
Holy Lord (M. Roach)

feature tune: One Pure and Holy Passion (Mark Altrogge)

Mighty to Save (Ben Fielding, Reuben Morgan)

Again, nothing terribly interesting or unique in terms of the songset this weekend. Doesn't mean the Holy Spirit didn't show up in a big way, though... the set felt great. We served Communion this weekend, which is sometimes tricky to program in terms of music if attendance spikes. It did this weekend--particularly at our last service on Sunday--and we found ourselves desperately trying to stretch 'One Pure and Holy...' and 'Mighty to Save' to fill the time required by the Communion piece... it was already a bit tight on Saturday and the first Sunday, so I should have known better. We got away with it, but not without a few miscommunications in the lyric display dept. and such... looking forward to the rest of 2009 with great anticipation. I'm confident God has some amazing things planned for this year.

this post is also a part of Sunday Setlists

Friday, January 2, 2009

worship confessional - Christmas 2008

ok, so I got just buried enough in the craziness of the Christmas season at the church, making sure that I was able to spend time with my family and, of course, my outward ministry that I completely defaulted on like, three straight weeks of worship confessionals. So, I'm just gonna recap some of my thoughts on the end of the holiday season with you in one big 'ol Christmas confessional.

December 14.
The weekend of the 14th was especially fun for me 'cause of the feature tune we did. My wife sang 'I'm Letting Go' by Francesca Battistelli which, oddly enough, works perfectly with the story of Mary. I, myself, am a huge fan of using non-traditional Christmas tunes to communicate the many layers of the Christmas story. It was a really tough tune to learn how to play on the piano, and I always dig a good challenge, so that was uber fun. More of the fun Christmas-tunes-interwoven-in-worship stuff, too... I had a really good time with that this year.

December 21.
another weekend I was excited about primarily 'cause of the feature tune. This fall I presented at a national conference that happens to be right here in my backyard in St. Charles, MO called "Write About Jesus"... at the writers' night on Friday, a guy by the name of Don Poythress got up and sang an unbelievable tune called 'Joseph' that silenced the crowd before manifesting a standing ovation. I asked if there was any way he could send a demo my way so I could try to squeeze it into our Christmas season and he burned me a CD right then and there. Unbelievable guy, unbelievable song. I didn't do it justice, but I loved the opportunity to do it... we also did an original video of a modern day Joseph story... kinda based on the idea that if Joseph were here now, faced with the same situation, and decided to self-submit a video for some intervention reality show type thing, here's what it might look like:

December 24.
Ok, so Christmas Eve was probably one of the most special services I've ever been a part of at MSC--for a myriad of reasons. It started a few months ago when we began unpacking the idea of doing something different for Christmas Eve... not different complex, different simple. acoustic. no band. That began to seem a touch lazy, so we thought about how we could do it with some intentionality. We ended up clearing the entire stage and bringing in a Steinway (& Sons) baby grand piano for starters. As it turned out, it ended up being my grandmother's piano that we brought in, which made it very special for our family as it's been in her house since before I can remember. Anyway, we brought in 3 string players and some percussion and filled the stage with candles and it was very cool. We did three original video pieces including this one:

My wife (who is an amazing vocalist) sang an arrangement that I did of 'O Holy Night' with an acoustic guitar, the piano and strings... very cool. Then we sang 'Silent Night' with candles and the whole deal... cheesy? maybe. I love it.

Anyway, so that was our Christmas season... hoped yours was incredible and I look forward to continuing connect with all of you here in 2009! Happy New Year!