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…


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 πŸ˜‰


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 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. πŸ˜‰

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.


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.


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…


Sunday Summary – Music: April 19, 2008

Whew – kids, I am busy! There are 10 songs that string parts scored for our DRIVE Conference, and beaucoup of stuff to do in the yard before it gets too hot (or my allergies take over!).

So sorry for the posting delay….

– – – – –

This past Sunday was lots of fun. Eddie had a great line:

“I thought it was going to be a strong single-base hit, maybe even a ground rule double, but it turned out to be a good stand-up triple!”

(Now if only the Braves could rally some of that action…)

Andy started a new 2-part series called “God and Country”, talking about our national conscience, and how God is viewed in America. The first message was really good – certainly worth a listen!

We opened with our good buddy James David Carter singing the Rodney Atkins tune “It’s America”.

It turned out to be a lot of fun, and we even had Jeremy Moyers move over from Rhythm Guitar to Pedal Steel for the tune. (He toured playing Pedal Steel with Lonestar for years!). And kind Matt Melton came over from West to play Rhythm on that tune.

So it was something different, something fun, and it was a great setup for the series.

With the opener, plus baptism, we only had time for 2 worship tunes, so we chose something old and something new.

The oldie was Tomlin’s “Your Grace Is Enough”, which was well received by many, but I wasn’t real crazy about. Oh well..

The newbie was the Tim Hughes tune “Everything”, which we’ve done a couple times, and is one of my new favorite tunes. I absolutely love it , and really, really love playing it.

– – – – –

East Band – Mike Gleason, James David Carter, Rachael Gillis, Danny Grady, Jeremy Moyers, Joe Thibodeau, Pat Malone, Me

West Band – Chrystina Fincher, Ryan Stuart, Matt Melton, Ben Snider, Brad Gage, Wayne Viar, Keith Thomas

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Sunday Summary – Music: March 29, 2008

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

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

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Sunday Summary – Music: March 08, 2009

I can’t remember a time when something happened as much as it did this past Sunday…

But more on that later (doh!).

As with many of our power-packed services, especially ones with baptism, we were a little pressed for time up front, especially since we were definitely going to do closer. And doing closer means Andy needs to be on stage speaking even earlier than usual.

So we opted to two worship songs that were a little out (or outdated!) from our current songs to strategically go with Andy’s message series. Again, we don’t normally program worship to be directly coordinated with a specific message or series, but yesterday was one of those rare times we did.

Andy was wrapping up the “He’s Still Got The Whole World In His Hands” series – one that has really hit home for a lot of folks in lieu of these crazy days we’re living in.

So we dusted off Charlie Hall’s version of “On Christ The Solid Rock” from the Passion Hymns album to start. We’ve done it a bunch over the last few years, so it wasn’t a total newbie – plus it’s a great rendition of the classic hymn. And hey, who doesn’t like a good 6/8 sea shanty? Somehow all the musicians turn into Maritime fisherman or pirates…

But the lyric sets it all up: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…“.

We then did a tune that we haven’t done for a looong time, and even when we did, it was infrequent and short lived at best. It’s Matt Redman’s “You Never Let Go“. It was a big hit at High School camps a few years ago, but never really had that “grown up” appeal. Something about that “oh no, You never let go..” part that has always seemed a bit, I don’t know, campy? The content is not, it’s the “oh no” part. Maybe it’s just me…

Either way, the Worship Leaders on each side did a great job with it, and it helped a ton that it was appropriate for the series, and not out of left field.

Steve Fee and his Fee Band boys, who were with us in East this past week, had done this tune at Buckhead Church at the beginning of this sermon series and put an extra spin on it. At the end of the tune they did not ritard, and when the band hit the last chord Steve on acoustic kept playing the “1” chord. After 4 bars of just acoustic he started singing the verse of Amazing Grace:

Through many dangers, toils and snares…

we have already come.

T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…

and Grace will lead us home.”

The band hits big diamonds on “T’was” and “safe“, then builds through the last line into a giant all-skate of the 1st verse (Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…). Goosebumps, people. Goosebumps! Some serious Holy Spirt movement, if you know what I’m talkin’ about. From there, back into one final chorus of “Oh no, You never let go…“.

The whole thing is about 6:30, but worth every second.

BUT! If you can believe it or not, the musical highlight came at the end of the service….

Steve and the boys are currently working on a new album, and Steve had played one of the new tunes for Andy – who loved it and even shaped some of the series’ message content around the tune.

It’s called “Everything Falls” and will probably be the first single off the new record, due in August.

Steve and Eddie Kirkland wrote the song, and it’s one of their best.

Plus a great band and a live string quartet made the whole musical experience incredibly powerful – especially on the end of a very relevant message and series.

On a personal note, I played the live piano for that tune on Sunday, which is totally exposed for the intro, 1st verse and chorus. And I don’t know if I’ve ever been so nervous playing 4 of the most simple chords – Am, F, C, and G.

A child could play those in their sleep, but all I could think was “don’t screw up, everyone’s counting on you, don’t screw up, they can hear every note you’re playing, don’t screw up, this is probably going on a DVD, don’t screw up, one wrong note and you’ll ruin this moment for 5,000 people, don’t screw up, or you’ll never get asked to do anything ever again, don’t screw up, you’re a professional, don’t screw up, what’s the order of these 4 stupid chords???, don’t screw up, is it Am first, or C? AAHHHHHH!!!!!”

And now you see why musicians are neurotic.

But everything was OK – due to years of practice, but mostly a whole lot of grace from God.

– – – – –

East Band – Steve Fee, Matt Adkins, Heath Baltzglier, Brandon Coker, (with strings and me on the closer)

West Band – Danny Dukes, Ryan Stuart, Brad Long, Danny Grady, Wayne Viar, Richard Meeder, Keith Thomas

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What runs through your mind before your featured moment on stage?