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.

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