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!

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You can’t NOT laugh. Good times…

WORSHIP:

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

Everything

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 😉

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Sunday Summary – Music: June 14, 2009

Redneck’s Famous Last Words: “Hey Y’all, watch this!!”

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Yeah kids, it was Bluegrass Sunday at North Point.

And I don’t mean we just added a fiddle to a couple tunes – I mean we went all out Bluegrass on both East and West stages for the Opener and all the worship tunes.

Each side had two acoustic guitars, mandolin, fiddle, scaled down drums, upright bass, and 3 fantastic three-part-harmonyin’ sangurs…

(OK, we had electric bass in East – so only a little cheating…)

Each side opened with an old tune called “The Fox”. It’s a Bluegrass standard, and we copied a version that Nickel Creek did a few years ago.

That song has, without a doubt, WAY too many words in it. But that’s part of what makes it a great, fun tune! Give it a listen on iTunes – see if you could spit those out!

Todd sang it in East, and Mike Hines did it in West, and both dudes did an amazing job!

WORSHIP:

I Saw The Light

– yep, an old tune made famous by Hank Williams, Sr. 130 bpm’s of hoedownin’ joy!

Let God Arise

– put your metronome on 140, play a double-time train beat (boom chug, boom chug, boom chug, boom chug), and flat-pick yer fingers off! Now straighten out the “Let God Arise” lyric leading into the chorus in 3 part harmony and you’ve got a heap load of fun. Add a fiddle and mandolin solo for taste, and you’ve got a recipe to burn the barn down!

Jesus Reigns

We did this one far closer to the original, but obviously substituted instrumentation. So the rhythms and melody were familiar, but it had a sweet twist with some beautiful fiddle and tasty mandolin fills. Think a lovely Alison Krauss tune…

Now was it as deep and spiritual experience as some may have liked? Maybe not. But it accomplished our goal of engaging the audience with something that put a smile on their faces and amazed them musically. It was such a treat to let some of our most accomplished players and singers really let loose – like unbridled stallions!

You will gain an audience’s respect when they are presented with a quality that is beyond their expectations, no matter the genre.

While can’t post video of this past Sunday, there’s an old video floating around YouTube of the old 7:22 band playing “I Saw The Light”, including Todd singing lead and Jason Hoard on mandolin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utMeR7IdLgk

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East Band – Todd Fields, Jason Hoard, Bethany Olds, Ashley Appling, Pat Malone, Danny Grady

West Band – Mike Gleason, Mike Hines, Rachael Gillis, Tim Huffman, Tiffany Watson, Scott Meeder, Steve Florczykowski

West – Check out Tim’s “Uncle Earl” outfit, complete with suspenders and straw cowboy hat 🙂

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East – Bethany taking a solo…

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Sunday Summary – Music: May 10, 2008

Ryan Stuart is the man.

And you add some other real men on stage, and it’s a ridiculous display of awesomeness.

We’re in week 2 of Andy’s “Staying in Love” series, and we opened with the old jazz standard “L-O-V-E”. Michael Buble, Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, Frank Sinatra, and countless others have done versions. We actually used Natalie Cole’s version as a road map for our interpretation.

Ryan sand lead, with jazz masters John Carrozza (piano), Scott Meeder (drums) and Steve Florszykowski (upright bass) along side. And I was super proud of Steve Thomason and Brad Long on guitars keeping up – jazz isn’t normally their gig, but you’d never know it!

This tune was a giant winner because we only attempted it knowing we had the RIGHT PEOPLE FOR THE JOB.

DO NOT throw something like this at your young emo rock band. They will fail.

That’s one of the joys of having a deep, rich pool of players. You use the right people at the right time. Think of your players and singers as a toolbox, and choose wisely.

And Steve F. on upright bass is not one of our regular players. He plays regularly at a different church – which is super cool – and we’ll try and book him when we need to use his particular skill set (in this case, a killer upright bass jazz player).

Think of that as renting a specific tool from the Home Depot for a day. 😉

Here’s a view of the opener (live in East) being fed to West. The giant High Def screen in the middle, with the IMAG on the side screens.

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Eddie Kirkland joined the aforementioned aficionados and led worship in the East, while Seth Condrey led in West.

Seth did a lot of leading for us in the Spanish Service, and did a great job in the West.

WORSHIP:

Hands of the Healer (Eddie Kirkland tune that we’ve been doing for almost a year)

Jesus Reigns (new Todd Fields tune, on his soon-to-be-released CD)

Those are both gooood tunes. They’ve both got interesting, intelligent melodies verses. Meaning that they might not be the easiest to pick up right away, but have enough substance to keep you interested and excited as the song lives its life as a corporate worship tune.

The choruses of both tunes, however, are great. Easy, catchy, and rich with meaning.

Joining Seth on West were Mike Hines, Danny Howes, Wayne Viar, Richard Meeder, Mike Gleason, and Keith Thomas

Here’s the West, live…

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Sunday Summary – Music: March 15th, 2008

Well, I was away this past weekend, so I’ll give you the 2nd hand reports…

We didn’t do any openers or closers – which usually makes for a simplified week, and this was no different. However, a couple of the tunes were newer, which means that not all the musicians had played them yet.

That brings up an observation. With our musician and Worship Leader schedules – like ’em or not – it can often mean that at a Wednesday night rehearsal there are guys in that week’s band that have played a tune a bunch, and sometimes others have not played it at all.

And what makes our musicians great is that the guys that are more experienced with a tune are quick to aid the ones that haven’t played it. They’ll kindly offer notes or suggestions based on their own past experiences. Pretty cool.

Alrighty, so here’s what we did – nothing elaborate or crazy, just a good, effective time of worship…

Salvation’s Chorus by Todd Fields

Hands of the Healer by Eddie Kirkland

Everything by Tim Hughes

I’m really digging that Everything tune. I’m a big Tim Hughes fan. Have I said that before? Not sure…

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East Band – Mike Gleason, Trey McKnight, Earl South, Scott Meeder, Jeremy Moyers, Mike Hines, Chris Arias

West Band – Todd Fields, Ryan Stuart, Pat Malone, Ashley Appling, Danny Grady, Bill DeLoach

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Who are you a big fan of?

Sunday Summary – Music: March 1st, 2009

Well, I was in Nashville this past weekend enjoying a great weekend.

BUT, as far as things around North Point were concerned…

We did another one of our abnormal instrumentation weeks. Another chance to refresh the sonic palate, and to engage the audience.

And after what I heard after this week’s rehearsals, I knew it was going to be a week I was going to be sad to miss.

We didn’t do any specials – just worship. But we changed up the instrumentation as follows:

East:

Todd Fields leading from acoustic

Jen Carrozza – BGV

Pat Malone – Bass

Ashley Appling – scaled-down kit (kick, snare, hats, floor tom, ride, 1 thin crash), accented by the use of Hot Rods and brushes

West:

Cori Moon leading (think a cross between Sarah McLaughlin, Christy Nockles and Alison Krauss)

Mike Gleason – acoustic and BGV

John Carrozza – piano

Scott Meeder – scaled-down kit (like above)

Steve Florzykowski – upright acoustic bass

So yeah, the vibe was certainly different, but as many folks have commented: Very nice and quite refreshing.

For me, personally, it was exciting to witness (at rehearsals) the sheer musicianship of players and singers I admire so much. Very inspiring!

But, alas, the toughest thing for us was song selection. Todd and Cori lead very differently, especially on an opening, more energetic song of a worship set. So, after lots of emails and phone calls, we decided on:

Everlasting God (bumped up to 108 bpm)

Glory To God Forever

Lead Me to the Cross

While Cori lead all 3 in West, Jen Carrozza lead the 3rd tune in the East (Lead Me…). That is such a great song for girls to lead. It somehow seems to fit a female voice so well…

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Do you remember a month or so ago when we tried a quasi-acoustic Sunday that kinda backfired? (WE do!) Well, from all accounts, this made up for it. The key was to go farther in the effort to strip down the instrumentation, as well as really work with the Front of House guys to mix accordingly.

Song selection and player choice are also key issues. Songs can be batted around all day, and a win will be a series of songs that your leader leads well in that type of setting, along with highly skilled instrumentalists that really “get” the overall vision of the stripped-down vibe. Their playing becomes far more exposed and the room and P.A. become far less forgiving, so choose your players wisely!