busy with worship

That title might seem oxymoronic, or maybe it's just me.

I came to my current church two years ago with part of my charge being the creation and launch of a new modern worship service. It had been promised by a few previous pastors, but never delivered (or so I'm told). It took about six months, which if you've ever tried to do anything like that before, especially in a 165 year old church, is an ambitious time frame. We were able to start with a full band: me on guitar, two other vocalists (one of which is my wife), keyboards, bass, and drums. We've since lost our bassist.

Two months ago, someone invited the band to play at the local Rotary's annual carnival. That happened on Tuesday. Around the same time as that invitation, we were also asked to play at our church's Strawberry Festival. That happened last night.

I wondered about playing our openly Christ-centered contemporary music at the Rotary deal, but it turned out okay. After they hooked up the power they promised would be close to the stage but was really 75 feet away. Providentially, we brought our own extension cord since the one they handed us was ungrounded. We plugged in and... nothing. The circuit breaker was turned off, and located behind a locked door for which the key could not be found.

Eventually a slow moving elderly gentleman made his way over, unlocked the door and t...h...r...e...w t...h...e b...r...e...a...k...e...r. We set up the instruments and speakers on the "low boy" trailer they provided. It was a trailer, but it was more like one of those small things you see towed around at moto-cross events or behind the guys from Lawn Doctor than an actual low-boy. The five of us were tightly packed, and the floor of the thing was an iron grate, which meant the supports on the drum hardware could slip right through.

We had fun though. Some regulars from our service showed up and a few carnival goers came over to listen. At one point some teens in full goth gear headed our way, openly intrigued. Upon hearing the words we were singing they turned around and ran (well, okay, it was more like really fast walking) away.

Last night's gig at the church had a decidedly different flavor. We had a captive audience: a hundred or so people trying to eat their hamburgers, hot dogs, and ice cream with strawberries on top (it was the Strawberry Festival, you know). We were warmly received, probably because I kept the volume down and elected not to do some of our more edgy stuff. Some of the crowd (average age: approx. 57.5) actually stopped eating their dinners to applaud for a few of our songs. My wife said the blue hair crowd she sat with during our break gave us rave reviews and asked if we were slated to play another set.

No rest for the weary. This morning I had to rearrange that same room so we could use it for tomorrow's modern service. One of the church pillars came in while I was there. She said, "You all should play concerts around at other churches! That was great! I think you'd go over very well."

Not too bad for a bunch of amateurs. But I could use a rest after hauling our equipment around three times in one week.

BTW: Any bass players out there who wouldn't mind moving to Pottstown to play music for a dying church?


Eric said...

Hamburgers and hot dogs with strawberries on top? Man, youse guys are hard core!

You should post some mp3s of your band in action; I'd love to hear 'em.

Jim said...

Ah, yes. The vicissitudes of the English language. I did say ice cream in there, I checked

I don't have the resources here to make any decent recordings of us, digital or no. However, you can listen to my old band "Political Suicide" via broadjam.com. I tried to post a link here but am still not too swift with the HTML; so the URL is below. It is a song I wrote a long time ago, and rewrote with the rest of the band for our CD. That's not me singing, it's actually the drummer. All the electric guitar stuff is me though, as well as some of the background vocals.


If you like that song, you can hear more of Ipso Facto Records' stuff on Broadjam.com. Just search "Ipso Facto Records" in their search window and a ton of songs will come up. One song you might find interesting is called "I Owe Romeo" (I always liked the lyrics, written by our bass player. And that guitar solo is yours truly).

If I get the chance to make a recording of some of our worship band, I'll do it.

Hope you get to try some strawberryburgers this summer.

Eric said...

OK...you guys are good! I like that song. Tight vocals, good hook.

If you ever need help digitizing any analog recordings, give me a holler.

Jim said...

Glad you liked it.

"Were good" would be the operative phrase. We disbanded at about the same time we released the CD that contained "Turn to Me".

And I left Ohio not long after that, which would have made it difficult to continue on if we hadn't already ceased to exist.

The recording process was interesting (sometimes fun, sometimes decidedly NOT). I should do a post about it sometime.