Back at it

Uh, remind how all this stuff works again?

Uh, remind how all this stuff works again?

For the past twelve weeks at my church, we’ve had ONLY two services on Sunday mornings – one at 9:00 and one at 10:15. This is, of course, a switch from our “full” schedule of five services on Sunday morning – two at 9:00, two at 10:15, and one at 11:30.

Before we get back to that schedule, we have a couple of weeks of four services – two at both hours – beginning today, which means that for the first Sunday in twelve weeks, my morning involved a lot of Running Around. Not only were we in two rooms, but we also baptized a bunch of folks. I’m pretty sure every ten-fifteen minutes or so, I remembered some detail or item that needed attention (this actually began around 6:30 a.m. when I was brushing my teeth). Except a few things that didn’t go as well as they could have, considering this was our first time in three months to sync rooms, it was a pretty good day.

But the funniest part of the morning had nothing to do with having two rooms.

At the end of the first service, the band(s in both rooms) came back on stage to do a closing song. As we were wrapping up the video feed on the headset, I looked up and noticed we were missing Acoustic Guitar. Electric Guitar was playing ganjo/six-string banjo for this last song, and I saw Worship Pastor gesture to him to move over to acoustic; and he did. And because our team is awesome & Electric Guitar is a pro, the song was fine and went off without a hitch.

As it turns out, Acoustic Guitar had gotten waylaid by some visitors, and he was nice enough to show them where to go, and just didn’t quite make it back in time. However, in the few seconds that Electric Guitar was switching instruments, and capo-ing the acoustic guitar, he looked like he had never picked up a guitar before in his life.1  Since Senior Pastor was praying at this point, I’m guessing not many people saw that moment. I was even told that Acoustic Guitar started to come on stage, peaking through the curtain on the side of the stage, but then backed out. All in all, it was a pretty funny moment. And in the second service, all hands were on deck and in the right place for the closing song.

 


1. It also reminded me of the TV show from the late ’80s/early ’90s, Quantam Leap – when the guy appears in a new situation/time period and has to figure out who he is, where he is, and what’s going on. Random, I know, but it was kind of fitting.

And because the internet, here’s the opening of the show with a much more detailed explanation:

 

Guitar Slide Sunday and Other Things

Let’s agree that my absence here at the blog has to do with the massive amounts of work I’ve been doing on my dissertation. Whether that is true or not happens to be another story, but for now, let’s just agree on the “working on dissertation” premise.

Sunday, we did this song again, and the bass slides made me happy, as always, and our lead guitar player played WITH a slide on “How He Loves,” which was awesome. Also, Worship Pastor sang some oh’s (and/or whoa’s) in one of my favorite songs that we do (this link is to a “remixed” version of the song; the oh’s/whoa’s begin at 2:04).1 This was exciting as I’m quite a fan of nonsense syllables used judiciously in songs.

On Saturday night, I saw a solo Father John Misty (aka J. Tillman) show. He also is a fan of oh's, ooo's, and whoa's based upon his songwriting.

On Saturday night, I saw a solo Father John Misty (aka J. Tillman) show. He also is a fan of oh’s, ooo’s, and whoa’s based upon his songwriting.

In other news, I found a great excuse to buy new shoes. I have the privilege of representing my alma mater at the investiture of UGA’s 22nd president in a couple of weeks, so obviously I need new shoes to go with my regalia. Conveniently enough, an Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse opened nearby and had their grand opening this past weekend. I went, found some shoes that will suffice (I’m still looking for a better option), and signed up for a few drawings. As it turns out, I’M A WINNER. I received an email saying someone from a closet/organizing place would be in touch with me about a shoe closet makeover. I have no idea what this entails or how it will work, but for now, I’M A WINNER.2

Finally, college basketball is back, and the newest version of the Kentucky Wildcats looks to be special. Also, Georgia-Florida is upon us. Go Sports! I hope we win.

______

1. Also, I have a “no reading internet comments” policy in my life that I try very hard to follow, and I’m guessing you should too when it comes to that video, well, because the internet, and also because of this.
2. Can we also acknowledge the fact, that despite the comments thing mentioned in note 1 above, the internet is also a fount of knowledge: it showed me how to add footnotes to my posts! Hooray internet!

On the fly…

IMG_5439

My typical view on Sundays

Things have been a little more laid back this summer at the church. This mostly has to do with our schedule (three services instead of four, rehearsals only on Sunday mornings, etc.) and our team’s availability (or lack thereof: vacations, mission trips, camps, etc.). Our fall schedule kicks in three weeks from yesterday, and I know there are a few things that need some detailed attention.

However, even with detailed attention, stuff happens; things don’t go quite as planned; or things don’t turn out exactly as you envisioned, regardless of planning. I’d say this is especially true at church, and even more true in a church environment with live syncing and video. For example, yesterday morning, we ended up being short one worship leader. I called one of our team members at 8 a.m. asking her to come sing (I’ve mentioned the implications of a phone call from me on a Sunday morning)… and she kindly obliged, showing up not very many minutes later, and sounded great in both services.

At another point in the service, we had to change our camera shot to show a large group of people gathered at the front of the room. Thanks to some miscommunication, our camera operator was not at the camera at this point, so our Sanctuary Sound Guy had to run over to the camera to make the adjustment. That worked out great, but when Senior Pastor returned to his normal location on stage, his head was no longer in the shot, which cut off exactly at his shoulders. Thankfully, this was during a prayer time, so most people in the room weren’t looking at the screen. Unfortunately, this was during a prayer time, and when I looked at the screen, I laughed out loud.

So there are certainly some things we need to work on, fix, improve, and adjust in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, again, I apologize for disrupting your worship experience if you sit near the booth.

Camp at the Beach 2013 version

There hasn’t been a post-Sunday post in quite a while, and this week, I’m filling that spot with the post-camp post. Yet again, we headed to Myrtle Beach for a week of camp.

The view from our room was OK, I guess....

The view from our room was OK, I guess….

And yet again, we turned the conference room Palladium B into our meeting and worship space for our (youth) Camp at the Beach. Things went much smoother on ALL fronts, as this was our third time doing camp at the beach and being in the room. Much work was done on the front end (more organized and much quicker), and once we arrived at Myrtle Beach, Lead Guitar turned Production Guy had a plan.

Set up seemed to go pretty quickly, and we also had some help from a few awesome senior guys. Unfortunately, because the screen was hung differently, we ended up having to play the fun game of raising truss, lowering it, moving it, and raising it again, and then starting all over again in order to get the projector just right.

The theme of camp was Unexpected.

The theme of camp was “Unexpected”

The Youth Band was led by former Youth Worship Leader (and former Bass Guitar). I hadn’t seen him in a bazillion years (ok, ten or eleven months), and it was great to see him. The band (of course) sounded amazing, although there were no funny costumes this year.

The band! These folks are awesome.

The band! These folks are awesome… and also arranged by height!

The electric player was new-to-us, but he won me over pretty quickly with some epic guitar slides. It’s a shame that I didn’t record any of those slides to share. However, as a side note, Lead Guitar has an EP coming out really soon, and there just might be a guitar slide from that to share…

We loaded up pretty quickly, and thankfully, the trip home was uneventful… although apparently, one of the vans (full of teenagers) had a flat tire on the way home. All in all, it was a great week. The Very Tall Nephew went, and it was fun getting to see him throughout the week. I think he had a good time, but probably not nearly as much fun as he’s having working with kindergarten boys at Vacation Bible School this week.

My church always does youth camp immediately followed by VBS at the very beginning of the summer. I like this schedule for a variety of reasons, but it certainly makes for a pretty hectic two weeks. In any event, we’re two days in and it seems like everyone’s surviving. Two down, three to go!

I need a minute… and a guitar slide!

Things ended up being hectic from the time I walked into the building until the service began on Sunday morning. Thankfully, Tall Sound Guy was there, so I was free to run around like a crazy person and take care of a couple video things, plus we had baptisms and a syncing song. Even though I had been busy all morning, as the first service approached, I thought we had taken care of everything that needed to get done. As the first service began, I felt a little crazy, but was ready to go.

As it turns out, I had forgotten a couple of tech things, which made the baptism go not quite as smoothly as I would have liked. Nevertheless, we made it through the syncing song; the baptisms went fine; and we were ready for our second countdown timer for the worship set. As soon as we got both rooms going with their timers, I told Tall Sound Guy I’d be back. I took a deep breath and went to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, I just stood there in relative peace and quiet for a couple of minutes to catch my breath (thankfully, no one was in there, and I didn’t have to cut in line).

And then I went back to the booth. And then ProPresenter crashed in the middle of a song. Which somehow made one of our videos disappear, and of course, cancelled our timer. Thankfully, we were able to get everything back up and running (College Computer Girl & Helper Elf are awesome; of course, we missed Computer Papabear!), and all was well. It was yet another week that we were all thankful for the second service!

And since it’s been months since the last Guitar Slide Wednesday, here are two slides played by Lead Guitar in the service during the song “Happy Day.” Enjoy 🙂

Second verse, not exactly same as the first…

I have grown accustomed to two Sunday morning services, likely due to the fact that I’ve experienced two Sunday services every week for several years now. The second service has served various purposes for me… like the times I find myself working and/or pre-occupied with various things at different times throughout the services, and a second go ’round gives me a chance to catch things I’ve missed (like various points in the sermon). Also, I love hearing our band, and a second service is just that much more of them. But sometimes, I am thankful for the second service because it gives us a chance to fix things that may have gone awry in the first service.

Yesterday, for a small handful of us, this was the case. In live-syncing parts of our services, we often use a timer to keep two separate locations tracking together. I’ve blogged about the starting timer and how important that is, but we often also use a timer during other parts of the service. The most common timer incident is when one room exceeds the timer (which has the possibility of making things in the Other Room a bit awkward waiting for them), but yesterday our room finished up early. Like four minutes early. Like the Other-Room-had-just-started-their-last-song-as-our-room-finished-that-song early.

I’ve mentioned before that thirty seconds might not seem like a long time… unless you’re counting seconds (and Nothing is happening when ideally Something should be happening). So four minutes felt interminable to me… and to the band on stage, not to mention things on the production side were less than smooth. As with many of these situations, it was noticeable for just a small number of folks (hopefully), but thanks to the built-in grace of the Second Service, we got a do-over. And in that service, both rooms ended at appropriate times relative to their timers, and nothing painfully awkward happened! Thanks, Second Service!

Who Turned Out the Lights?

Technically, it’s still post-Sunday. It’s just a little more post- than usual. The busy-ness of December is beginning to take over, not to mention another (yes, another) fellowship application deadline, plus I’m heading back to Chicago in a day and a half… and well, yeah. So here’s the post-Sunday post that was supposed to show up on Monday!

It’s never a good sign when all of your Christmas lights go out simultaneously. It’s even worse when other lights go out along with your Christmas lights. But it’s just bad news when your electric guitar amp goes out along with your other lights and your Christmas lights. And when this happens in the middle of the music set in your church service, well, the production lady throws her hands up in the air and laughs out loud starts running around checking breakers.

The morning had been busy, but by the time we got started, I felt really good about the service. Well, until about fifteen minutes into the first service, when the Christmas lights and LEDs on stage all went out. Then I noticed that our Asian Apprentice playing lead guitar walked off stage. I knew it was a breaker that had been tripped (we meet in a gym after all…), but I wasn’t sure which one it was. I went and checked the easiest-to-access breaker box, and all was well. The next breakers I thought of were right beside Church Attenders (remember, this was during our song set), but thankfully, these Attenders were friends, so I just scooted around them to check those breakers. And they were fine.

My last option was toward the front of the room. The only catch was I couldn’t remember where on the wall that box was, and our walls are all covered with curtains. I knew it was near a beam, but there were lots of Church Attenders in that area, and I was on a countdown. My options were to go up to that section and start feeling around the wall for the breaker box, or leave it alone and worry about it once our two rooms were synced up.

I opted for the latter. And it all worked out fine. Worship Pastor waited until an opportune moment in the service, and fairly inconspicuously flipped the breaker.

All of these goings on were pretty absurd, but as I was wandering around (in our darker than usual room) checking breakers, I heard Worship Pastor begin to introduce the last song of the set, and he opened with, “Jesus is the light in the darkness…” and I laughed out loud. He’s funny sometimes. Hopefully, we’ll keep the lights on this Sunday.

Whirlwind

Today was supposed to be an easy morning. Tall Sound Guy was around, we had no syncing song, and there was nothing in the service that was out of the ordinary. Generally, all of these things would combine to make for a straightforward sort of day. While the day worked out great eventually, most of the morning was a little bit crazy. I definitely ran around more than usual, and lots of things were just wacky.

The countdown timer can usually give me an idea of what sort of morning I’m having. For instance, if the timer says 19 or 20 minutes, and I’m walking, then my morning has likely been without incident and things are happening as they should. However, if the timer is in single digits, and I’m jogging/running/sprinting somewhere, then most likely, you should get out of my way (I’ve been known to inadvertently run over folks). This morning, I looked at the timer, it was under ten minutes, and I still had at least seven things to do in three different locations. Later, the timer was under three minutes, I was sprinting, and still hadn’t gotten everything done.

Thankfully, I had help aplenty, and everyone still had great attitudes despite the wackiness. Helper Elf, Sanctuary Sound Guy (and his unsuspecting friend/guest), Tall Sound Guy, et al. all made the morning much better. By the middle of the second service, I felt like things had sort of settled in, and since there were a few visitors in the booth, I decided to take a photo for the #boothtweet. Really, sometimes the Apprentices are well-behaved, and then other times… well, see for yourselves.

I couldn’t bring myself to use the second pic for the #boothtweet today because, well, just because it’s so completely ridiculous. But at the urging of College Pastor, I decided I couldn’t keep it to myself.

And in other news, I’m heading to Puerto Rico in hours from now. By the time this is posted, I’ll hopefully be boarding a plane. But for now, I’m using the blog to procrastinate packing. I don’t recommend this sort of tactic. Remember, I’m a professional.

Lay Me Down

Yesterday, we ended our services with a song called “Lay Me Down” from the latest Passion album (Passion: White Flag, 2012). Apparently one of our camera guys took this literally, as we had a mishap right at the beginning of the first service in the Sanctuary that resulted in our camera guy on the ground, and the camera nearly on the ground. Not surprisingly, this caused a bit of a ruckus in that service, but Sanctuary Worship Leader kept everything under control! Thankfully, everyone and everything was OK, but I should probably confess a couple of things:

1. I refused to believe Computer Papabear when he told me what had happened, and maybe spent about thirty seconds saying, “You’re kidding. You’re totally kidding, right?!?” For the record, I’m pretty sure that would not have been a funny joke anyway.

And…

2. I may have asked if the camera was OK before I asked about camera guy.

To be fair, we had about five minutes before the image captured by THAT camera was supposed to show up on the screen in both rooms. And if that wasn’t going to work, then we needed a new plan. And quick. And I DID eventually ask about camera guy. I was extremely glad that our Camera Expert was serving as Sanctuary Sound Guy and was able to help get things aright.

Aside from that, I was glad to be back after missing last Sunday, and to make up for two weeks’ worth of booth tweets, here are a few pics from yesterday.

Magic word

I seem to be the go-to person at my church for some really random things. Part of this can be blamed on Worship Pastor for knowing and doing so many random (and not-so-random) things; but otherwise, I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve been around for a hundred years, not to mention I’m quite centrally located each week.

I have been asked about Bibles in Spanish, the thermostat, lost items (every week), special events, our website, and sign-ups for just about anything, among many, many other topics. I am also (mostly) the person who keeps our iMacs and software up-to-date, which means I am the Guardian of the Wifi Password for the room we’re in every week (a password that has been the same for over a year, maybe even two or more).

On Wednesday of last week, I changed this password. It was time. And SO MANY people (ok, like twelve) asked me for the new password throughout the morning. A couple of them were trying to access streaming video for their Sunday School teaching classes, but the rest of the folks just seemed completely shocked that they couldn’t get online via their mobile devices. When more than one person demanded, “I need the wifi password!” I really wanted to respond, “Well, what’s the magic word?” But I didn’t.

I had been thinking I should change the password regularly, like every month or every other month, and now I think I most certainly will… and keep everyone on their toes. I just need to remember to do it on a week when Tall Sound Guy is around.