worship band gathering

Latest

Ten ways to improve the flow of contemporary worship

Join Clayton Faulkner for a webinar on Friday, August 21, 2020 (1:00 PM Central) entitled, “Ten ways to improve the flow of contemporary worship.”

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/.

“Drum Works” by Dominique German

Check out the newest musical project from Dominique German, “Drum Works” available on Apple Music.

“Psalm Settings” by Michael Brady

Michael Brady has released three tracks in “Psalm Settings.” These are musical arrangements of Psalm 27:1-4, 73:24-28, and 100.

Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon!

“It Is Enough” by DeAndre Johnson

 

by DeAndre Johnson
@RDeAndreJohnson
(posted May 27, 2020)

Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people? – Jer. 8:22

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:
Kyrie eleison!

“It is enough!”, the prophets cry
Yet still black men are doomed to die
By those who wish to vilify:
Kyrie eleison!

It is enough! The harm must cease
From warring madness by police
Who are sworn to protect, keep peace:
Kyrie Ellison!

It is enough! We cannot wait!
No more excuse for bias, hate!
Your savagery we cannot take:
Christe eleison!

It is enough! We cannot breathe!
Will you stand there and watch us bleed?
Are you not moved by cries and pleas?
Christe eleison!

No! No more death! It is enough!
No more dead sons! It is enough!
No! No more tears for lives cut short:
Christe eleison!

O my soul, it aches and yearns
For a day when passions burn
For others with deep love, concern:
Kyrie eleison!

I’ve had enough of these charades,
Of clichés and hasty crusades
Whose triteness wounds and cuts like blades:
Kyrie eleison!

There are no words that can contain
The depth of wounds our souls sustain
Each time a grieving heart exclaims:
Kyrie eleison!

This Musician’s Musings on Social Distancing

by Richard Birk
@richardbirk
(May 27, 2020)

(Things I’ve Known But Sadly Took For Granted and The New Discoveries I’m Making)

My musical mission statement for years has been “I want to make good music with good musicians.” But…I NEED OTHERS TO MAKE MUSIC! I’m a trombone player, bass player, conductor, and composer. Without others to help me make music, I’m pretty worthless.

Let’s break it down.

Trombone (as well as every brass instrument) is a harsh musical mistress. Without the everyday diligence of putting the mouthpiece to your lips, the physical fitness required to play instantly disappears. I’ve been willing to put in that daily grind for years because of the regular reward of getting to make music in an ensemble. (And wanting to avoid the pain and embarrassment of being out of shape when playing in an ensemble.) COVID-19 has shelved ensembles – temporarily I hope but the end is still somewhere in the distance – so it has been a struggle to muster the motivation to maintain the daily trombone grind. I still practice (a little) most days but it is far from inspired and productive. Also let’s face facts, nobody wants to hear solo, unaccompanied trombone. The novelty of a beautiful melody fades pretty quickly when there is no other sonic relief.

And if solo trombone isn’t sad enough, then there’s the tragicomedy of solo bass. The importance of bass in an ensemble couldn’t be more opposite of its insignificance as a lone voice. NOBODY wants to hear just the bass part of ANY song and that includes all of us bassists. ‘Nuff said about that.

As unrewarding as it might be, at least with trombone and bass I can make some music by myself. As a conductor, all I’m making these days is silence. 1 conductor x 0 musicians = 0 music. Talk about worthless without others…..

Well what about the inherently lone venture of composing? I do have time and I could (should!) be creating new works to share with the world. Aye, but there’s the rub…. Without others transforming those notational symbols on paper into living and breathing sounds, all I have is the soulless machine rendering of a computer. Not particularly inspiring or motivating for this someone in his isolation funk.

Contrary to the above whining, I haven’t given up on making music. I am investing my musical energy into the piano. I have been obsessed with the piano for a few years now but making time for it was a challenge….and Lord knows playing the piano takes time! Let me be clear, I suck as a pianist…but the good news is my piano goals are modest (e.g. church hymns and jazz standards). I’m slowly (and I mean SLOWLY) getting better*. When I sit down at the piano all by my lonesome, I can make melody, harmony, and rhythm (okay, it’s slow rhythm). But oh my, the harmony! Lush, thick, crunchy, spicy, transparent, stark HARMONY! This single line playing trombonist and bassist just sits and wallows in all these lusciously different flavors of chords. I’m discovering that the simplest voicings are glorious while at the same time the secrets of the universe are contained in some dense jazz chords.

I’m loving playing the piano but I miss making music with others. And I miss making music FOR others. Music is about human connection. So many of my dearest friendships have been forged through shared music making. There is an inexplicable but powerful bond that occurs when music is created together. I have been overwhelmingly blessed to have lived out my musical mission thus far in my life of making so much good music with so many good musicians. It’s all these fond musical memories that make my heart ache for more chances to recapture and share this joy of making music.

I close with a prayer of thanks and a prayer of hope:
Thank you God for all the musical experiences and human connections with which you have blessed me. I am truly humbled by the abundance of these rich blessings. And I pray that You prepare my mind, body, and spirit to honor, value, savor, and cherish whatever future music making you have in store for me.
Amen!

*I recently read and highly recommend the book “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle. It explains the processes involved in acquiring skill and why it’s so challenging to become skilled at something new after the age of 50.

TUNE UP 2020 Cancelled

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are cancelling our plans for the TUNE UP gathering that was scheduled for August 15, 2020. We will hopefully be able to gather again next summer.

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

Report from TUNE UP 2019

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Getting Ready for TUNE UP 2019 this Saturday!

We are excited about the 2019 TUNE UP worship band gathering happening this Saturday, August 17. You’re receiving this email because you have been registered as a participant for the event. Here are a few details as you prepare for the event…

LocationTUNE 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,

Event Organizers

Announcing Two TUNE UP Events in 2019

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

tune up psalm immersion

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.

TUNE UP taking a break in 2018

_DSC6150Thank you for your interest in the TUNE UP gathering. After a solid 5 year run, it is time to take a break. We will not be having an event during the summer of 2018. Please check back for announcements about future events. We hope you will continue to pursue excellence, passion, and creativity in your church’s worship and music ministry!