Sunday Summary – Music: June 21, 2009

OK, you’ve heard me drone on and on about having something ENGAGING at the top of the service. Sometimes it’s a peppy Opener, or at least a semi-captivating individual doing a welcome. Followed by some great worship featuring some kickin’ tunes. Of course 🙂

This week was no exception. To celebrate Father’s Day we did something that we first did at DRIVE, and that we stole from the show “Ellen”.

Yep – Blindfolded Musical Chairs, hosted by the always funny, engaging, and occasionally pleasantly irreverent Clay “Scrog Dog” Scroggins.

We had pre-selected 4 fathers out of the audience – not plants or ringers, just guys that we asked to play about 10 minutes before each service.

The best part were the pictures of funny eyes on the blindfolds!


You can’t NOT laugh. Good times…


So once everyone’s had their funny bone tickled, it’s a whole lot easier to sing. It seems like crowds come alive after something in the opening slot has really caught their fancy and helped them let their hair down. That’s another great reason to have something light, fun and engaging right at the top of the service – it actually HELPS worship!

However, Blindfolded Musical Chairs and a video welcome by Andy, streamed from Browns Bridge, ate up a lot of time, so we only did two songs. But every once in a while, that okie dokey.

So we did:

All Because of Jesus


It was a great mix of energy and passion, old and new. A song that’s getting a little old in the tooth and another that’s caught on over the last couple months. And strong songs for each worship leader – always a plus!

EAST BAND – Mike Gleason, Brad Long, Danny Grady, Scott Meeder, Pat Malone, Jared Hamilton, Ryan Stuart

WEST BAND – Todd Fields, Brad Avery, Brad Gage, Brad Bretz, Chris Arias, Karyn List

So yeah, we had 4 Brads – 1 on East and 3 on West. Next time we’ll shoot for all on one stage 😉

Sunday Summary – Music: May 17, 2008

It’s amazing how your physical body can affect your experience of, well, anything!

Between pulling something in my lower back on Thursday, then totally overexerting myself Friday and Saturday, I was a wreck come Sunday morning. Literally – like a Mack truck hit me. I felt 90 years old. At one point that morning I didn’t even think I’d be able to put my socks on. Lame, I know…

So playing in East ended up being more of a chore than a pleasure. Which stinks, because it was an absolutely amazing band doing fantastic songs.

So there I was, doing one of my absolute favorite things to do in the whole world, with some of my favorite people to do worship and music with, in one of the most desirable situations and locations to do it – and all I could think of was how much I couldn’t wait to get back to the Green Room and lie on the floor!

So that brings up a thought…

No matter how perfect a scenario we create for those on stage or in the audience – sound, music, monitors, gear, lights, quality, content, professionalism, etc. – there will almost always be something in each person’s life that acts as an obstacle for enjoying their experience and ultimately connecting with God on a deeper level.

I’d say that it’s up to us to address those obstacles – give them a name. Then we can carefully enhance a scenario when possible or eliminate as many of those obstacles as we humanly can.

But obviously we, in our human strength and flawed minds, can’t do it all, or even always do what we do properly, so we always need to pray hard that God blesses our efforts, that they would be honoring to Him, and that He would take care of the rest.

– – – – –


How Great Thou Art

Glorious (new Todd Fields tune)

It Is Well (new Todd Fields arrangement)

The second two tunes are on Todd’s new CD!


– – – – –

East Band – Todd Fields, Brad Avery, Jason Hoard, Ashley Appling, Pat Malone, Rosie Pinkerman, Me

West Band – Ryan Stuart, Jen Carrozza, Mike Bielenberg, Mike Hines, Ben Snider, Scott Meeder, Earl South

Todd Fields’ CD Release – Video Photos

Todd’s new CD releases this weekend, and we had a concert for it Friday night.

Needless to say, it was an incredible experience, not only musically, but personally as well. The chance to make incredible music with incredible people is such an amazing blessing.

You MUST get the new CD, which will be available exclusively through North Point Resources until it hits iTunes in late June.

And our buddy, Matt Gibson, shot a behind-the-scenes video that will, hopefully one day be available for public viewing. In the meantime, here are some screenshots I captured from my favorite scenes of his incredible handiwork, along with some simple impromptu photo titles……

“Microphone & Light”

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“Snare & Sticks”

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“Praying Lady”

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“Set List”

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“From the Front Row”

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“The Most Important Thing”

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– – – – –

Todd Fields – lead vocals, electric guitar

Ashley Appling – drums

Pat Malone – Bass

Jason Hoard – electric guitar

Brad Avery – electric guitar

Reid Greven – keyboards, acoustic guitar

Ryan Stuart – backing vocals

Jordan Watts – special guest backing vocals

Jayce Fincher – front of house mixing

Tyler Freeman – monitor mixing

A big thanks to Matt Williams, Dan Stonaker, Suzy Gray, Rick Holliday, Andy Stanley, Bill Willits, David Hill, and all the members of North Point Resources that made this possible!

Sunday Summary – Music: March 29, 2008

First, a big shout out to our Long Island guests! (You know who you are… 😉 )

Sunday was a fun day. Sometimes the mood on stage and off is just a little brighter and perkier than others – this was one of those days.

No real reason why, other than the fact that everyone was glad that 5 straight days of rain was over.

That, and the fact that we did some fun tunes…

Sunday was our “Strategic Service” day – the day we honor our existing volunteers, and push for new ones.

So we opened with a highlight video – a montage of photos from every area that volunteers serve, underscored by each side’s live band doing Jack Johnson’s “Better Together“.

It’s a happy little tune, just like most of Jack’s repertoire. Danny Dukes sang it on East and Eddie Kirkland did it on West.

And I got to use a vibraphone patch, so that alone made my day… :).

Worship was, at least for me, more fun than usual. I played on East with Chrystina Fincher leading. If you don’t know Chrys, she’s a firecracker rock-chick. I mean, this is the mother of 3 that sang Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” at DRIVE and Catalyst conferences!

So a win for Chrys is a set of “up” tunes that have a lot of energy and really allow her to show off her dynamic personalty and lead a crowd in worship.

Plus, Eddie was leading on the West, and he can sing the phone book, so no worries!

We started with Chris Tomlin’s “Let God Arise“. Now if you don’t dig this tune for worship, chances are you’ve not heard the right person lead it.

Tomlin’s recorded version lacks something, and you don’t realize what that is until you hear someone with a stronger, more aggressive voice sing it. It’s a great tune, but a smooth, tender voice like Tomlin’s doesn’t do the song justice. But when you put someone on it that has some grit, the song takes on a whole new persona!

Next was Marvelous Light, a fave by Charlie Hall, but one that is nearing it’s last days and will soon be put out to pasture. So enjoy it while it’s still around!

We concluded worship with a new song by Todd Fields that he co-wrote with Eddie called “Jesus Reigns“. It’s got a great mid-tempo groove ad is a blast to play. The verse is a little wordy and with some odd syncopation, but it certainly learnable over time. The chorus, however, is fantastic – a great hook that’s super easy to pick up and repeats a bunch.

We’ll be singing this one for a while! It’ll be on Todd’s new project due in May.

There you go!

– – – – –

East Band – Chrystina Fincher, Danny Dukes, Ryan Stuart, Steve Thomason, Ben Snider, Ashley Appling, Richard Meeder, Me

West Band – Eddie Kirkland, Danny Grady, Brad Avery, Jennifer Young, Mike Bielenberg, Pat Malone, Wayne Viar

– – – – –

Sunday Summary – Music: February 15, 2009

“What was with that second song? I hated it!”

That’s what I heard from my wife as I came off the East Auditorium stage this past Sunday morning after our worship set.

Gosh, I wish she’d learn to open up and share her feelings…. 😉

OK, so apparently you can’t win them all.

We opened the set with what would typically be a “third” song for us – a slower, very worshipful tune: “From The Inside Out” by Hillsong United.

We do a shortened version, just over 4 minutes, that nixes the solo and gets to the out choruses quicker. Anyway, it’s a great song, and the crowd usually reacts well and really worships through it.

We ramped it up after that, doing what will inevitably be a topic of conversation for weeks to come.

“Chainbreaker” by Charlie Hall is the tune in question….

Some of us were excited to do it, while others of us were questioning it as an effective corporate worship song. We all agreed that the verses were weird, wordy, and the weak part of the song, but the chorus and bridge were really cool and something that the crowd could latch on to after a couple go-rounds…

BUT, was the good chorus worth the awkward verses….?? Hmmm… Well, my wife sure didn’t think so! We’ll see what some others think…

Bottom line is that – in my opinion – the East band (Steve Fee, the Fee band boys and I) gave the song the best possible legs to stand on. I was really proud of us on that account. We gave it a great musical treatment, and introduced a cool piano part.

(OK Keyboardists – try this one on: Piano with 3-way delay at 154 bpm – right & left delay set to dotted 8ths and center delay set to normal 8ths. Now play a single note dotted quarter note pattern at 154 bpm.)

Anyhoo – we’ll bat this one around the table a while and let you know where we land…

We rounded out the set with Steve’s new tune “Glory to God Forever”. OK, it’s not totally new, but it does have a new name! The title Steve used for the first few months was just “Glory to God”, but the he adjusted the title as he and the boys hit the studio to record the upcoming radio release.

Well, there you go. An interesting Sunday: 2 winners and a questionable draft choice… Did we draft Michael Vick or Matt Ryan?

And if that just confused you, it’s time to do some research on the Atlanta Falcons’ last few seasons…

– – – – –

East Band – Steve Fee, Matt Adkins, Heath Baltzglier, Brandon Coker, and me.

West Band – Todd Fields, Brad Avery, Keith Thomas, Ashley Appling, Richard Meeder, Dee Dee Maillian

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What has ever been your “draft choice in question”?