Yesterday I posted a video of something I shared on a recent Sunday morning as I was leading. It was the introduction to the song “Come Christians Join to Sing.” It’s a traditional hymn that we’ve updated musically and lyrically. Kevin Hartnett, a member of my church, wrote a third verse that highlights the main reason we can sing — Jesus has died for our sins in our place and risen from the dead. Here’s the verse he added:
Come praise the risen Lamb,
He died to ransom man
On that triumphant day
He took our sins away!
Death could not bid him stay
You can download a copy of the guitar chart for this song here. And here’s the video, uncut and uncensored…
Watching this video is definitely a dose of reality. That’s why I’d encourage you to record the audio and/or video of your Sunday meeting and watch it as a group. No better teacher.
Here’s what I liked. Two of the band members (Ryan Kelly on guitar and Jared Hoffman on percussion) have been raised up as musicians through high school and are now real contributors to the team. I appreciated that at various times all the instrumentalists were singing, modeling engagement with the lyrics, not just the music. I liked breaking down to a cappella in the 4th verse. The singers were expressive. (Incidentally, on a personal note, the female singer is my oldest daughter, Megan, who happened to give birth to Gavin William Russell, yesterday at 7 PM. That’s him to the left. God is good.) I was able to encourage the church to focus on the words through a few spoken phrases in between lines. I also liked the set behind the musicians. My wife, Julie, designed it to go with our current teaching series on Jeremiah, returning to the “old paths.”
Here’s what I think could have been better. We could have listened to each other more closely. We need to play less when a song is highly rhythmic in nature. Some of the singing was harsh and a tad out of tune. That’s often the temptation when singing an up tempo song. I could have done a better job playing in time. The mix could have been better, for sure.
Tomorrow, I’ll share a video of a spontaneous song I sang later on in the same meeting.
What a beautiful baby! Congratulations! It is difficult to sing at 9 months pregnant, with all the crazy breath control, but Megan does it effortlessly.
Thanks for posting this. It is very helpful to actually see what you are describing. God bless you, Bob!
Mind if I rip off your arrangement? ;)
As I mentioned yesterday, it’s so very helpful to see all of your teaching in action. I love watching the guitar player in this clip. So passionate about what he’s playing. Are you doubling melody with the other gentelman in the clip or is one of you singing harmony? I’m having a hard time telling. If you are doubling melody, is that for greater freedom for you to interject things in the music?
I’d be delighted if you ripped off the arrangement. That’s why I posted the chart.
Ralph Moore, the vocalist, is the one singing harmony when you hear it. Otherwise, we’re doubling the melody, and yes, that’s so I can interject phrases and also have a tenor part on choruses.
This is great. One question: do you ever find yourself halfway through an interjection and find that you don’t know how to finish it? I hope I’m not the only one who experiences that…
Do I ever find mysef halfway through an interjection and find that I don’t know how to finish it?
Uh, yes. I find that happens more when I’m thinking about saying something rather than what I’m singing. If I’m really engaging with the words it’s not hard to say something in response to them. But like most things, both practice and experience help.
The piano sounds especially great on this recording. What kind of piano mic or pickup do you use?
First, thank you for your enthusiastic, impassioned leadership in worship at CLC.
Second, congratulations to you, Megan and family in the birth of Gavin. I was amazed, and a little concerned, that while she sang as enthusiastically as her father, she might fall over.
This was a wonderful arrangement. I especially enjoyed the tight stylistic melding of the percussion and guitars. Amazing!
Grace & Peace,
Hey dude, that song in the video is new to me, but it reminds me of old transparency projectors and times where my parents led the congregation with two acoustic guitars (not plugged in). Anyways, I can understand wanting the vocalists to hit all their notes and things like that. One thing I had thought, however, is that someone who inconsistently sings out of key every now and then, in a humble manner might cause more people to engage in a more selfless response because they realize they don’t need to be Whitney Houston or Stephen Tyler in order that God hear them and be pleased. I think the reason a lot of guys at my college don’t sing is because they’re shy with their voices, should that keep them from singing out with all they have? Sometimes it doesn’t.
I asked Dave Wilcox, our tech director, and he said we use two AKG C414EB mics on the piano. They’re suspended above the strings. It’s a 7 ft. Steinway piano. Hope that’s helpful.
If you want to know more you can visit Dave’s blog. I highly recommend it for tech teams.
Bob, your heart, humility and love for the Saviour challenges me to draw near to Him and to worship Him more and more every day. Thanks for being transparent and encouraging with other churches and thanks for being one of my mentors as a worship leader and pastor.