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 😉

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: June 7, 2009

This past week was a BLAST! I had a GT (good time) all morning long – and I wasn’t even on stage. So that’s sayin’ somethin’!

First, some back story…

As we’ve looked at the summer as a whole, we realized that Andy’s not speaking here (or any of the campuses) for nearly 3 months, starting 2 weeks ago. He’ll be back in August.

(FYI – he’s enjoying some vacation time, as well as giving a bunch of the other communicators and speakers in our organization some opportunities to speak, along with a couple special guests).

So that leaves us with 2 things:

#1 – Shorter services (AKA time to fill…). Speakers other than Andy are alloted 35 minutes, and so that gives us an extra 5 minutes to either fill in content or get out a few minutes early – we’ll be doing some of both over the summer.

#2 – No Andy. Duh! It’s no secret that attendance dips a bit when it’s publicly known that he’s not speaking, so we’re going to do our best to help make the services this summer fantastic – at least as much as we can from a music and programming perspective.

So will we do a few more fun openers this summer? Oh, you betcha!

And we started this week with a great “Summer” song – Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69”.

Sam Tesh came and sang it for us – and dude, he’s amazing! He’s a great, charismatic performer with a voice perfect for Journey, Bryan Adams, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi – you get the picture. Oh, and all in the same keys as the originals! Yep – that’s high.

Oh, and giant kudos to our good buddy Steve Thomason, who, of course, covered the tones and solos to perfection. That boy has mastered the art of being faithful to the originals when it comes to classic rock. Love him!

Here’s Sam and the gang making the 80’s proud…

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We, spearheaded by Eddie, have a real passion for this summer for our bands, singers and worship leaders to HAVE FUN! To enjoy themselves on stage. To bring a smile and encouragement to the congregations and attenders. To embrace what they’re singing and playing and have a RGT (really good time).

And our prayer is that will help soften the hearts and let down the guard of the stoics and skeptics. And anyone bummed about no Andy 😉

WORSHIP:

Man, we kept the blood pumpin’ with worship, too!

God Is Alive

Glorious (off of Todd’s new CD)

Everlasting God

Yep – not one tune under 105 bpm’s. In review some thought it was a little much. I could see their point, but I think the majority didn’t mind it. I thought it worked, especially going into the funny Title Package for the current series.

So we’ve got a few more things up our sleeves for this summer – should be fun!

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East Band – Eddie Kirkland, Rachael Gillis, Steve Thomason, Danny Grady, Scott Meeder, Richard Meeder, John Carrozza, Sam Tesh

West Band – Ryan Stuart, Rebecca Iraheta, Mike Hines, Matt Melton, Wayne Viar, Earl South, Keith Thomas

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.

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WORSHIP:

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!

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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

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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