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.
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.
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…
Hello everyone! Thanks for checking out our TUNE UP website. We are excited to announce that we have a date and location set for our gathering this year!
TUNE UP 2017 will take place on Saturday, August 5, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Cypress, TX (11522 Telge Road, Cypress , TX 77429). We are looking forward to being in a new venue a little bit further to the west of Houston. We have many returning leaders, as well as some new faces joining us.
Registration will open on the website sometime after Easter. Please get the word out to your teams and bands.
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.
We have a date for this year’s event: Saturday, August, 20, 2016! The event location this year will be back at Faith Lutheran Church, 4600 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX 77401. We have many returning leaders as well as some new faces to lead and inspire us this year. Registration will be opening after Easter.
Registration for the 2015 TUNE UP worship band gathering is open! Go HERE to register online (only 1 registration per church needed; $25/person, $150 max per church).
We have new presenters and track options this year. We also have a new venue! We will gather at Westbury United Methodist Church (5200 Willowbend Blvd, Houston, TX 77096) for a great day of learning and sharing ideas. Bring your whole worship team and don’t forget the techs!
Join us Saturday, August 8, 2015!