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,
Thank you to everyone who attended the TUNE UP gathering on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Thank you to the volunteers and Messiah Lutheran Church for hosting us. Thank you to Larry Bose for capturing our day together with photos. This was our fifth year of TUNE UP and we are so blessed that you came and learned with us.
We had over 70 participants from 19 different churches all around the Houston area join us for this day of training and networking. The gathering began with opening worship and presentations from Brian Hehn, Clayton Faulkner, and Richard Birk. They covered the subject of diversity in church music with each presenting on genre, selecting songs pastorally, and why we should incorporate hymns into band-led worship. Then everyone divided into instrumental/vocal/tech tracks, and conceptual tracks. The instrumental tracks were divided by specific area (worship leader, acoustic/electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, vocals, and sound tech). Conceptual track offerings included sessions on improving your worship band, running an effective rehearsal, increasing congregational singing, and using video technology. During the “Coaching for Bands” session a volunteer church band from Autumn Creek Baptist Church in Houston received feedback and help with their music from a panel of track leaders.
We want you to know about these helpful resources from some of our track leaders:
- Richard Birk has an ensemble called “Jazz Sunday” that provides music for churches on Sunday mornings.
- Michael Brady has a podcast called “The Worship Lab Podcast” that has great info for worship leaders and church musicians.
- Brian Hehn is launching “The Center for Congregational Song” with an event this October in Dallas.
Thanks for a great event and stay tuned for future event announcements…
On Saturday, August 20, 2016, the TUNE UP worship band gathering was held. Over 60 worship musicians, pastors, sound techs, and video techs assembled on the campus of Faith Lutheran Church in Bellaire, TX for a multi-denominational training event. Continuing in its fourth year, the event was organized by the Worship Excellence Team of the TX-LA Gulf Coast Synod (ELCA) to improve the quality of band-led worship in smaller churches.
The assembled musicians and techs represented 14 congregations including Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, and United Methodist churches. Participants traveled from as far as Austin, Texas and DeRidder, Louisiana to attend the training event.
The gathering began with opening worship and a panel discussion about the intersection of worship and culture. Then everyone divided into instrumental/vocal/tech tracks, and conceptual tracks. The instrumental tracks were divided by specific area (worship leader, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, vocals, sound tech, and video tech). Conceptual track offerings included sessions on music theory, collaborative worship design, making worship contextual, live streaming, and a web tool called Planning Center Online. During the “Coaching for Bands” session a volunteer church band from Messiah Lutheran in Cypress received feedback and help with their music from a panel of track leaders.
One of our special guests for the event was Brian Hehn, Director of The Center for Congregational Song at The Hymn Society in the U.S. and Canada. Brian, who joined the house band on percussion, had this to say: “Great event. Thanks for doing this important work. The overall spirit of the event and people who attended/led was very joyful and kind-spirited.” Watch the website for details on upcoming events: TuneUpGathering.org.
Photos by Larry Bose.
If you haven’t taken the online survey, please do so and give us some feedback. For the event this year we implemented several suggestions that were made last year. Click here for the survey.
Stay tuned to this website for announcements and details about future TUNE UP events.
Here is a list of the music we used in worship on August 9, 2014:
- Build Your Kingdom Here (Rend Collective Experiment, 2011)
- Your Grace Finds Me (Matt Redman, 2013)
- Jesu, tawa pano (ELW 529, Patrick Matsikenyiri, 1990)
- For Everyone Born (Shirley Erena Murray, Brian Mann, 1998/2006)
- Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise/Rain Down (ELW 834, Walter Chalmers Smith, traditional/David Crowder, music from “41” by Dave Matthews Band)
- You Are Holy (ELW 525, Per Harling, 1990)
- All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises (Paul Baloche, 2003)
- Enviado soy de Dios/The Lord Now Sends Us Forth (ELW 538, Anonymous Central American, arr. Richard Birk)
We also showed this video:
TUNE UP Louisiana POSTPONED! We’re sorry, but the event schedule for February 22 in Louisiana has been postponed till a later date.
We want you to know that we have confirmed the date for TUNE UP worship band gathering in Louisiana: Saturday, February 22, 2014.
The event will be hosted by Christ the King Lutheran Church in Kenner (1001 W. Esplanade Ave. • Kenner, La 70065). This event is designed for acoustic guitarists, electric guitarists, bass guitarists, drummers, keyboardists, vocalists, and audio/video techs.
Look for more details and online registration for the event coming soon!
Thanks to everyone who attended the TUNE UP worship band gathering on Saturday! We had a great event and were glad you all came. I hope you took something new back to your church for worship and music.
If you haven’t taken the online survey, please do so and give us some feedback. This was our first event and we would love to hear your suggestions. Click here for the survey.
Stay tuned to this website for announcements and details about future TUNE UP events.
Here is a list of the songs we used in worship on August 10:
- Hallelujah, We Sing Your Praises (ELW 535, South African, arr. Richard Birk)
- Glory to God Forever (Steve Fee and Vicky Beeching)
- Come, Let Us Worship God (Ray Makeever)
- 10,000 Reasons (Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman)
- All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises (Paul Baloche)
- Somos uno en Cristo/We Are All One in Christ (ELW 643, Anonymous, arr. Richard Birk)
- How Great Thou Art/How Great Is Our God (ELW 856 Stuart Hine/Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves)
- The Only One (Chris Tomlin, Carson, Reeves, Maher, Gilder, Scott, Ingram)
- Our God (Chris Tomlin, Redman, Myrin, Reeves)
- There Is a Balm in Gilead (ELW 614, African American spiritual, arr. Richard Birk)
We also showed two videos:
This event is for Worship Bands, Youth Bands, Praise Teams, Sound Techs, Vocalists, Keyboardists, Electric Guitarists, Bass Guitarists, Acoustic Guitarists, Drummers, Pastors, and Directors of Music.
If you want to learn and grow as a contemporary worship musician, this is the event for you.