Monday, June 23, 2008

lower case worship

another question i received lately...

why are many of the lyrics we use in worship lower case letters? for example, the pronoun "I" is lower case. is this some sort of contemporary appeal to young people?

while it might appeal to younger people, that's not the reason the lyrics are lower case. lately, the first words in each line of lyrics are lowercase for a very different reason. this technique has been used in modern poetry (but avoided in traditional poetry), so it's not new. also, the pronoun "I" has radically been transformed to lowercase.

using lower case for everything, except for God's pronouns and names causes worshipers to reflect on God's true proper place in worship when it comes to the orthography of words we sing or recite. have you ever cringed when the pronoun "I" is capitalized, yet when sometimes we refer to God using a pronoun, "he" does not begin with an uppercase? let's question the place God has in all areas of our lives - not just in english literature and poetry.

i completely understand this isn't proper use of english for traditional form. however, there are a few times where even the rules of english are broken for a good purpose; for example, see pulitzer winner jorie graham's poetry. i hope you can view the time of worship through sung lyric as one of these special times to simply give God His place, circumventing language rules we've learned through the years.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What I Listen To

My music tastes are extremely diverse. I do have preferences, like everyone. It really depends on my mood. Sometimes I like rock (Yes, Toto, Boston, U2, Rush, Genisis, Kansas, Whitesnake, Van Halen). Other times, it's brass driven (Gabrielli, King's Brass, Empire Brass, John Rutter, Chicago). And other times it's funk and bluegrass (Tower of Power, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones). And sometimes guitar driven (John Mayer, Phil Keaggy, Dave Matthews Band). And of course, there's worship and CCM genre music (David Crowder, Todd Agnew, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Michael W Smith, Israel Houghton, Matt Redman, and the like). Then there is the far out stuff I like (Vocal Spectrums, Apocalyptica) - which I'd have to explain. As you can see, it's all over the place. It depends on my mood. I feel for Scott DeSanders and Patty Diliberto who have their offices closest to mine.

When it comes to 'classical''s important to know that I'm a classically trained musician — both vocally and instrumentally. Classically trained simply means a heavy emphasis on music theory, music history, and performance of 'high-brow' music. It depends on the mood I'm in. Classically, some of my favorites are Bela Bartok, Gabrielli, and Aaron Copland. Most of my performance elements were 20th century composers on the tenor trombone like Hindemith, but I'd rarely pop it into my personal playlist.

If you really want to know the up to date of what I'm listening to — then check out the right hand column here on this blog where my iTunes and listening habits are revealed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So Few Vocalists?

Why the change from 6-7 vocalists in a vocal team singing to lead worship?

First, I select vocalists who are able and willing to sing in the mass vocal group (MVG). Why do I select them from the MVG? TBC vocalists have their start here. It's a group that leads worship once a month from September through April, having summers off. All TBC vocalists involved in leading worship sing regularly in the MVG. The MVG currently rehearses once a month on Thursday evening from 6:30pm to 8:00pm (childcare provided) to prepare. Individual vocal part rehearsal CDs are provided 3 weeks in advance as well as the sheet music. This way it's a perfect group for non-music readers as well as seasoned music readers. This assures that vocalists are regularly connected with our largest foundation vocal band. Is this the group where we get to know each other, learn to lead worship together, and learn much of the music.

Second, I look for three qualities during an interview/audition. I've covered before the three qualities I look for in vocalists to lead worship when the MVG (mass vocal group) doesn't sing. They are Heart/Attitude, Availability, and Ability (see my blog on 8/13/2007 for more details on these three qualities, archives below in right column).

Third, I typically select 1-3 vocalists to sing because it's easier to mix audio for a mass group of singers and a few (1,2,3) singers. It's a whole different ballgame to mix 6-7 singers - much more difficult. Also, having the MVG sing monthly and 1-3 singers the rest of the weekends creates a very different sound each weekend - something that is TBC's calling card (variety of style).

Fourth, the way the MVG is setup - it provides a modern worship choral sound. For the past 10 years, I've done traditional choirs - which have been inspirational and great for leading worship. However, traditional church choirs must adapt to survive the next 15-20 years. This modern choral style is what I believe the worship genre of music we are doing and will do calls for. Also, when listening to most contemporary worship recordings of today you will hear this vocal makeup (a mass Brooklyn Tab sounding modern choir, or simply 2 or 3 voices.) TBC has always been on the edge of contemporary worship music through the years, thanks to Nat's leadership. The MVG is just one step to keep TBC in this ever-changing stream of contemporary music.

Bottom line (whatever the makeup of the vocal ensembles) - worship will always happen no matter the style or makeup.

Some upcoming vocal front enhancements...
1. Now that we have a foundation established...the MVG will present a few "stand-alone" songs this upcoming season.
2. Rehearsal time will increase 15-20 minutes to include devotions and additional rehearsal.
3. Vocal tracks will be split-track with individual parts.
4. Auditions/interviews are currently being held to create a "sound bank" that I can potentially select from.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

French Fry Cross - authentic one of a kind relic

Check out this one of a kind on Ebay at...

French Fry Cross on Ebay

Yes, it came this way. It's the real deal.

Monday, June 02, 2008

24 Hours of Worship

A whole day of worship. Could I make it? Several times in Numbers 28 and 29, and other places in the OT, whole days are set aside for worship (holy convocation). These days were holy (set apart). Sacrifices not only required burnt, grain, and drink offerings - but of time as well. I cherish time. It's a resource. Sometimes I waste it - other times I use it wisely.

God wants us to make Him a priority in worship when it comes to our money, relationships, material possessions, and our TIME as well.

When was the last time I set aside a whole day for the purpose of worshiping God? It would be difficult to do, but I have to ask if He is worth it (a whole day)? According to the OT, He is.

God help me to give you the sacrifice of time as well as the other parts of my life. You deserve the best part of my time - when I'm most awake and when I'm planning/scheduling. I want to spend time with You like my son likes to spend time with me.

Numbers 29
1 ‘Now in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. It will be to you a day for blowing trumpets.