Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saddleback Conference, Day 2

This busy day began with a general worship session, that began with none other than Psalty. If you don't know Psalty, you probably didn't grow up in the 80's. The time ended with a group and pastor from Destiny World Church in Atlanta. They had a lot of energy. I think that is an understatement.

After our break at 10:30, we regrouped in the worship center for a worship concert with Nathan and Christy Nockels. They were great. It sounds like they have a lot going on as they are literally moving from Nashville to Atlanta this week.

The lunch break featured the usual live music around campus. First there was the Saddleback team doing some gospel tunes in a little amphitheater area, then there was the fusion jazz going on in another area. They weren't afraid to run that one loud, and Rick was prepared with ear plugs.

The rest of the afternoon were spent in workshops. The first one I attended was about improving your church's vocal team. Some of it was stuff I had heard before and things I think we practice pretty well, about being on time, being prepared as a leader to help your team be prepared, hedging and confronting pride issues, etc. The workshop ended with Tim Davis showing us how they do their vocal charts. He uses the Nashville number system. As you can see below, this system codifies parts and pitches, but does nothing for rhythms. He dictates the rhythm and then rehearses each part. The numbers represent the scale degrees. We spent some time learning this little tune.

Reasons he mentioned for using this method for their vocal teams: 1) many people can't read music, and those who can, can't read the rhythms anyway 2) he can make the chart quickly 3) he doesn't have to pound out the parts on the piano. In response to my question about transitioning people who are already used to reading notes and rhythms to this system, he responded by saying, in essence, if the team already knows how to read notes and rhythms, then don't move them, and oh, if you can find the charts with the rhythms and parts on it, then great. I think we'll be ok.

The next session I went to was a session on maximizing Ableton Live in your worship services. This was an esoteric workshop that was lightly attended, but helpful, even though it was sponsored by a vendor offering his performance tracks. The tracks they sell are actual studio tracks that are used on regular recordings (Israel, Baloche, Tomlin, etc), so you literally have the guitar, loop, pad, fxs, drum tracks, even backing vocal tracks that you can play (along with click) to fill in the spots you don't have. Pretty slick.

The last session I went to was pretty good, but it was too elementary for my experience. I am not an experienced B3 player, but I was hoping to learn more than what this class offered, which was stuff I already knew. It was nice, however, because it was set up as a lab and we all got to play along and watch what he was doing through his little camera projected on the wall.

The evening concert featured Jadon Lavik, who played and sang all of his songs with just his guitar--no band. He was excellent. Great writer and singer.

The Saddleback team presented an entire arts package, which was also excellent, centered around the American church's complacency regarding social injustices around the world, from human trafficking to AIDS in Africa. My favorite moment of the night was the Selah arrangement, which they did in the weekend services of I Bless Your Name.

After the concert, I went with my Chapel friends to the Cheesecake Factory for fun and, of course, cheescake.