Join us for our virtual TUNE UP gathering this year on May 6-7. We will gather on Zoom for training, collaboration, and networking. This gathering is for everyone: instrumentalists, vocalists, worship leaders, pastors, and audio/video techs. We will meet over 3 two-hour sessions on Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon.
Explore different techniques for creating an engaging atmosphere for worship. Geared toward band-led worship, there will be application for all approaches and styles. Some of the ideas presented will come from a book published this year called, Flow: The Ancient Way to Do Contemporary Worship (Abingdon Press, 2020), edited by Lester Ruth.
Register for the webinar through the Association of Lutheran Church Musician’s website: https://alcm.org/news-events/webinars/.
by DeAndre Johnson
(posted May 27, 2020)
Two weeks ago, I posted my own musings concerning the wrongful death of another black man, and now I find myself today still coming to grips with news of still yet another life gone. I feel all the more today the truth of the prophet/poet James Baldwin: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time.”
I’m offering these words, yet one more time – not because I need the attention or pity (I don’t), but because I need the release from the anger, the hurt, the fear and the doubt. I’ve added a couple of stanzas for today. Also, some have asked me to set it to music, which I have included here.
There are no words that can contain
The depth of sorrow, grief and pain
That mothers, sons, and all exclaim:
“It is enough!”, the prophets cry
Yet still black men are doomed to die
By those who wish to vilify:
It is enough! The harm must cease
From warring madness by police
Who are sworn to protect, keep peace:
It is enough! We cannot wait!
No more excuse for bias, hate!
Your savagery we cannot take:
It is enough! We cannot breathe!
Will you stand there and watch us bleed?
Are you not moved by cries and pleas?
No! No more death! It is enough!
No more dead sons! It is enough!
No! No more tears for lives cut short:
O my soul, it aches and yearns
For a day when passions burn
For others with deep love, concern:
I’ve had enough of these charades,
Of clichés and hasty crusades
Whose triteness wounds and cuts like blades:
There are no words that can contain
The depth of wounds our souls sustain
Each time a grieving heart exclaims:
In the meantime, we will be sharing some resources and links for your growth and support during these days. Stay tuned for more…
God’s peace, Clayton
Thanks to all who joined us on August 17, 2019 at Christ Church United Methodist Church Sugar Land (Sugar Land, TX).
The TUNE UP gathering is an annual event in the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod for contemporary church musicians. Over 50 participants from 20 different churches gathered in the Houston area in August for a day of training and networking. This was the sixth annual event that brings together a diverse group of leaders and participants to work on issues related to band-led worship in a congregation.
One of the unique things about TUNE UP is the multi-denominational atmosphere. This year musicians and worship leaders from Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Nazarene, and non-denominational churches all participated in an ecumenical and collegial environment.
The gathering began with opening worship and presentations from Clayton Faulkner (Director of Worship, Faith Lutheran, Bellaire, TX), Craig Gilbert (Purposed Heart Ministries, Alvin, TX), and Mark Swayze (Pastor of Contemporary Music and Community Growth, The Woodlands United Methodist Church, The Woodlands, TX). Words of welcome were offered by DeAndre Johnson (Pastor of Music and Worship Life, Christ Church Sugar Land, TX). The opening worship band was formed by the track leaders for the day. This included music led by Brian Christopher Clay (Worship Leader and Director of Communications and AV technology, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Knoxville, TN).
Healthy relationships among band members quickly emerged as one of the main takeaways for the day. Many of the struggles and conflicts that bands run into can be best addressed through healthy relational connectedness both at and away from church. Leading worship together begins with mutual respect and care for one another.
After opening worship everyone divided into instrumental, vocal, and tech breakout groups. The instrumental breakout groups were divided by specific area (worship leader, acoustic/electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, vocals, and sound tech). There were also conceptual track offerings in the afternoon that included sessions on leading in humility, working with what you’ve got in your specific context, invitational leadership, and running an effective rehearsal.
One of the highlights every year is the “Coaching for Bands” session. This was essentially a masterclass on arranging music for bands. A group of volunteers from the attendees were spontaneously selected to form an “instant band” that had never played or sang together before. They were given a popular worship song to lead together. After a run through, they received feedback and help with their musicianship and presentation from a panel made up of the breakout group leaders. By the end of the session the group had made great strides in improving their cohesion and leadership of the song.
One attendee who has participated for several years commented, “Each time we think, ‘We’ve gone every year – what more can we possibly get out of this?’ Then we attend and remark on the way home, ‘Wow! So glad we went because we learned this and this and that.’ This is why we want to see this keep going. We learn new things each time AND we also realize how far we’ve come in implementing items we’ve learned in the past when they are suggested to others during the current event. Such a great opportunity to exchange ideas with other groups that we do not currently get anywhere else.”
Another attendee commented, “The concepts presented are applicable to any style of worship, not just contemporary. Listening with an open mind uncovers the challenges we face and encourages us to use new thinking in our approach to worship and music and excellence in execution.”
Plans are underway to hold another TUNE UP event in 2020. This website (TuneUpGathering.org) will have updates and registration information.
Location: TUNE UP is being held at Christ Church Sugar Land (3300 Austin Parkway, Sugar Land, TX 77479). The event will begin in the sanctuary; look for the signs when you arrive.
What to bring: If you’re a guitarist, feel free to bring your acoustic, electric, or bass guitar (no amplifiers, please). This is optional though; don’t feel like you have to bring your instrument. You might also like to bring something to take notes with.
Schedule: You can view the schedule for Saturday here. Check-in and registration begins at 9:00 AM, gathering music starts at 9:15 AM, and the event will start at 9:30 AM. The event will conclude by 3:30 PM.
Tracks: When your group registered, you were signed up for an instrumental, vocal, or worship leader track. Please plan to attend the track you were registered for during the “instrumental track” option. After that, you are free to pick from the available options for the “conceptual track.” If you decide you’d like to switch instrumental tracks – no problem. You can view the track options here.
Food: Lunch is provided for this event. We’re sorry, but we don’t have a vegetarian or gluten free option. There will also be coffee and breakfast items available in the morning.
#TUNEUP19: #TUNEUP19 is the hash tag for the event. Share your tweets and instagrams.
Thanks for joining us and we look forward to a great event on Saturday!
Clayton Faulkner & Richard Birk,
Welcome to 2019! We are excited to bring worship leaders and church musicians together for two events this year.
March 23, 2019 – Psalm Immersion with Richard Bruxvoort Colligan
August 17, 2019 – TUNE UP worship band gathering
Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is a psalmist making adventurous music for the ever-evolving church. A composer and musician, he serves across denominations singing songs, teaching the psalms and telling dumb jokes.
He has recorded several albums of original worship music, and his hymns have been published by the UCC, ELCA, UMC and PCUSA. Richard earned his M.A. in Theology and the Arts from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and is currently working on his DMin through Eden Seminary in St. Louis. Since 2004, his central vocation has been immersion in the Psalms, studying, teaching, singing and creating new congregational songs for all 150. He teaches Psalms at several seminaries, in workshop at events and local churches and he is the weekly Psalm Correspondent for the Pulpit Fiction podcast.
He lives with his wife and teenage son in Strawberry Point, Iowa. Free listening at PsalmImmersion.com.
Registration for the Psalm Immersion will open soon. Registration for the TUNE UP gathering in August will open after Easter.
Stay tuned for more updates.