When we have two simultaneous rooms on Sundays for church services, there are limits on our service schedule. Broadly considered, since we have services at both 9:30 and 11, it’s a good idea for us to finish the 9:30 service sometime before 11. Also, we start services on a timer, and the syncing song needs to be nearly the same in both rooms. And generally, our worship (song) sets are on a timer, so each team needs to finish at (approximately) a certain time. Of course, within these limits, there is some amount of freedom for each team and worship leader to do what they want in that time.

However, beyond the schedule, sometimes our songs are limited. Whether it’s adhering to a certain time limit or simply everyone’s familiarity with a particular recording, some songs are less open to change and manipulation than others. This is especially the case when we do songs with loops, that is, additional sounds or tracks that accompany the live band. (This is just slightly related to an accompaniment track or what you might hear when if you ever sing karaoke.)

Loops can be used to add sonic variety or to provide a particular sound or fill that’s unique to a particular song, or in some cases, to compensate for a lack of musicians or instruments. But the Thing about using anything pre-recorded in live performance is that the map of the song cannot change (unless the track or loop is monotonous).

We used a loop for a song yesterday in which the first line is to be sung immediately. In the first service, Worship Pastor forgot that part and switched it up a little, leaving the first eight measures or so of the song a bit wonky.

What I found especially funny, and perhaps ironic, is that the song was “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is,” whose lyrics are “Where the spirit of the Lord is / There is liberty.”*

*I really wish WordPress allowed footnotes. The song is from the 2010 Passion album Awakening and is performed by Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels and references 2 Corinthians 3:17. We’re familiar with another song on that album.